Welwyn trio help guide England to big back-to-back wins over New Zealand

Former Welwyn junior Zoe Harrison kicked seven conversions as England roared to victory over New Zealand.

Former Welwyn junior Zoe Harrison kicked seven conversions as England roared to victory over New Zealand. - Credit: DAVID DAVIES/PA

England Women made it two sensational victories out of two against New Zealand with a little help from three players from Welwyn Rugby Club.

The comfortable 56-15 win at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens followed a 43-12 success a week earlier and was the first time the Red Roses had secured back-to-back wins over the Black Ferns since 2012.

And with Zoe Harrison and Helena Rowland both starting, plus Hannah Botterman coming off the bench, the victory stretches their unbeaten run to 16 matches.

Helena Rowland (right) backs up skipper Poppy Cleall as England Red Roses beat New Zealand for the second successive week.

Helena Rowland (right) backs up skipper Poppy Cleall as England Red Roses beat New Zealand for the second successive week. - Credit: DAVID DAVIES/PA

Amy Cokayne got the first and Ellie Kildunne got the second moments later, Harrison converting both of them.

A penalty-try came on 16 minutes and by half-time they were 28-0 ahead, Cokayne and Harrison adding another seven points with a carbon copy of the first.

The pair did it again early in the second half and after New Zealand had pulled one back, Harrison converted Leanne Infante's try before Lark Davies got try number seven.

Abby Dow got England's final score, Harrison again accurate with the kick, with two late tries for the Black Ferns merely an irritation.

England Red Roses face New Zealand's Haka before their comprehensive 56-15 win at Northampton.

England Red Roses face New Zealand's Haka before their comprehensive 56-15 win at Northampton. - Credit: DAVID DAVIES/PA

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Hat-trick hero Cokayne said: "Coming into the series we knew playing them back-to-back was going to be tough, and even after the result last week we knew they were going to come back firing.

"The Black Ferns are a great side so to put 50 points on them is huge, it goes to show the hard work we have been putting in."

Welwyn meanwhile enjoyed a much needed win, complete with bonus-point, over Harrow, lifting them up to seventh in London Division Three North West.

Dominic Negri was among the try scorers for Datchworth.

Dominic Negri was among the try scorers for Datchworth. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

There were two bonus points for Datchworth in Division Two North West and although they fell to a 31-27 defeat at home to Old Streetonians, the performance and the entertainment on show against the fifth-placed visitors provided plenty of hope that the Men in Green can live with the best the division has to offer.

Both teams showed a willingness to move the ball wide and each team scored five tries, with wingers James Watt and James Wilson finishing well after some slick running and passing by the young midfield trio of Franco Caroleo, Tom Johnson and Ollie Barnes.

Vice-Captain Johnson also scored an excellent individual try under the posts after a break from the opposition 22, bullocking through a small gap before taking half the opposition pack over the try-line with him.

Not to be outdone by their backs, the forwards also scored two tries from close quarters through Jamie Smith and Dom Negri.

Unfortunately, although Datchworth generally defended well, there were two periods in the second half when their defence went AWOL.

Having reached half-time only two points behind at 12-10, and with two opposition players in the sin bin, they took their eye off the ball to concede two tries within minutes of the second half starting and were soon 31-10 down.

The predominantly young team is quickly developing resilience and grit though and bounced back and spent the last five minutes camped in the Old Street 22.

Only excellent defence prevented Datch from getting more.

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