Black Ferns on top of the world again

Womens Rugby World Cup
AAP
by AAP

New Zealand's Black Ferns have defeated holders England 41-32 in a thrilling Women's Rugby World Cup final in Belfast.

The New Zealanders scored seven tries to England's four, including a hat-trick by prop Toka Natua after fighting back from 17-5 just before halftime.

It was the fifth successive final for England's Red Roses, but the fourth they have lost to New Zealand.

They led 17-10 at the interval with a penalty try and one by Lydia Thompson plus some excellent kicking from Emily Scarratt, who had been moved to fullback.

The Black Ferns showed their resilience to come back from the brink. Photo: Getty ImagesBut New Zealand, the world's No.1 side, turned the tables with a dominant display in the second half.

Selica Winiata's try had put the Black Ferns ahead early on.

Natua kept them in contention with another on the stroke of halftime after England had surged into the lead, and she crossed the line again four minutes into the second half, a successful conversion bringing her team level.

After Scarratt's penalty went over via a post, Charmaine Smith and Thompson exchanged tries to leave England 25-24 in front but in almost the next attack Natua completed her hat-trick.

Further tries by Kendra Cocksedge and Winiata set up New Zealand's fifth success in the last six tournaments before England's Izzy Noel-Smith crossed for a consolation.

France beat the United States 33-21 to finish third.

RESULT

England 32

Tries: Noel-Smith 2, Thompson 2

Cons: Scarratt 2

Pens: Scarratt 2

New Zealand 41

Tries: Natua 3, Winiata 2, Cocksedge, Smith

Cons: Cocksedge 3

Bronze medal match

France 33 -  USA 21

Fifth-place payoff

 Canada 45 - Wallaroos 12

Seventh-place playoff

Ireland 17 - Wales 27

Ninth-place playoff

Italy 20 - Spain 15

Eleventh-place playoff

Japan 44 - Hong Kong 5

FINAL STANDINGS

Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 (top seven qualify for 2021)

1. New Zealand

2. England

3. France

4. USA

5. Canada

6. Australia

7. Wales

8. Ireland

9. Italy

10. Spain

11. Japan

12. Hong Kong

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