Women's Rugby League World Cup: England lose to NZ

England v New Zealand

The England Women's rugby league side saw their hopes of World Cup success ended by a 34-16 defeat by defending champions New Zealand in Featherstone.

Bradford's Amy Hardcastle scored a hat-trick of tries but her efforts were in vain as her side suffered their second defeat in the competition.

England trailed 12-6 at the break but fought back to twice level the match against the three-time winners.

But three late tries from the New Zealand Ferns earned them victory.

The visitors started strongly and Karley Te Kana crossed after four minutes before first Sarina Fiso and then Honey Hireme scored to extend their advantage to 12-0.

Hardcastle went over either side of the break to give England hope, but Fiso then crossed for her second try to put New Zealand 16-12 up

Hardcastle took advantage of an error from Hireme to score her third but Akanese Pereira put the holders ahead once again with 13 minutes left, with Laura Mariu kicking her first conversion to ease the pressure.

Five minutes later, Kelly Maipi increased the lead before Pereira had the final say with a minute remaining.

England face France on Thursday before being involved in a third-place play-off on Sunday.

England: Anfield, Stallwood, Hardcastle, Gilmour, Cunningham, Walsh, Moroney, Slowe, Bound, Dobson, Sutcliffe, Twibill, Rudge.

Replacements: McGinnis, Myers, Forsell, Welsby

New Zealand: Fiso, Gilbert, Hireme, Campbell, Te Kana, Mariu, Peters, Arnoppe-Scanlan, Woodman, Ana Pereira, Keremete, Akanese Pereira, Peters.

Replacements: Maipi, Hemara, Hall

Referee: Jamie Bloem

Attendance: 1,127

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