Kiwi Ferns grind out win over England to reach final

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England Women v New Zealand Women

New Zealand have triumphed 20-6 in York on Monday night, eliminating host nation England to reach the 2021 Women's Rugby League World Cup final in a gritty match.

The start was a surprise, with the underdog Englishwomen opening the scoring off a Francesca Goldthorp try for a 6-0 lead.

It didn't take too long for the Kiwi Ferns to strike back though, with Mele Hufanga benefiting from a strong Amber Hall run and offload to score, although the try went unconverted.

The 'away' side then cruised into the lead when Raecene McGregor picked up the ball from dummy half and stepped through the defence to score.

Leading 8-6, the Kiwi Ferns put the foot down a bit early in the second half, with Hufanga and Apii Nicholls creating a try for rookie Otesa Pule in the 46th minute. The conversion from Nicholls put NZ ahead by more than a converted try.

Already staring down a fierce battle to claw back the margin, England's task became more difficult five minutes later when Brianna Clark brushed through a gap to score close to the posts, and suddenly the Kiwi Ferns had a 20-6 advantage.

Incredibly, the Lionesses were able to stem the tide for the remaining 25-or-so minutes, but were unable to score themselves despite impressive ball control (completing at 88% for the match) and making nine errors - six less than their victorious opponents.

The victory for New Zealand sets up a mouth-watering final on Saturday at Old Trafford, where they'll face Australia in what is sure to be a tense contest after such a close-run match just last weekend.

England Women 6 - New Zealand Women 20

Venue: LNER Community Stadium, York
Crowd: 7139
Halftime Score: England Women 6 New Zealand Women 8 Players of the Match:
3 points - Apii Nicholls
2 points - Raecene McGregor
1 points - Francesca Goldthorp

Tries: Francesca Goldthorp
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Tara Stanley (1/1)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Mele Hufanga, Brianna Clark, Raecene McGregor, Otesa Pule
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Brianna Clark (0/1), Apii Nicholls (2/3)
Penalty Goals:

See how it happened in our Match Centre