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Abbie Ward defends ill-fated late lineout tactic as England fell to World Cup final defeat

‘We had to back it’: England star Abbie Ward defends ill-fated late lineout tactic as the Red Roses fell to a dramatic defeat against New Zealand in World Cup final… with the lock admitting the loss ‘will stick with us’

  • England suffered an agonising defeat against New Zealand in the World Cup final
  • Abbie Rose defended England’s employment of a lineout drive in closing stages
  • Red Roses had successfully implemented the tactic previously during the game 
  • The 29-year-old admitted that the dramatic defeat ‘will stick’ with the players

England’s greatest strength faltered at the worst possible moment and lock Abbie Ward admitted she won’t forget her team’s crucial failed World Cup final line-out drive in a hurry.

Simon Middleton’s Red Roses have used their strong set-piece and powerful pack in New Zealand to prove an unstoppable force when it comes to their driving maul.

They scored four tries through that tactic in their thrilling final defeat by the hosts and had a chance to go for a fifth at the death which would have sealed a third global crown.

Abbie Ward defended England's late lineout drive as the Red Roses fell to defeat against New Zealand

Abbie Ward defended England’s late lineout drive as the Red Roses fell to defeat against New Zealand

England had success implementing the tactic during the game but were unable to find Ward in the closing stages

England had success implementing the tactic during the game but were unable to find Ward in the closing stages

But with the clock in the red, replacement hooker Lark Davies couldn’t find jumper Ward at the front of the line-out and the Black Ferns stole possession.

‘We used it to great effect throughout the game. It was four line-out tries in the game and we had to go to it. We had to back it,’ Ward said. ‘It’s something that will stick with us.’

It was the ultimate irony that England’s bid for global glory fell short because their line-out drive failed to deliver. New Zealand’s Joanah Ngan-Woo stole possession and her team cleared.

A heartbreaking 34-31 final defeat to the southern hemisphere giants for the second successive World Cup was the result for England.

England boss Simon Middleton said New Zealand's victory on home turf was 'written in the stars'

England boss Simon Middleton said New Zealand’s victory on home turf was ‘written in the stars’

Black Ferns head coach Wayne Smith admitted his team ‘had to do something different’ by sending Ngan-Woo up in the air to compete with Ward and the gamble paid off.

‘I had absolute belief we’d do it,’ said a distraught England captain Sarah Hunter.

Asked for his view on the late failed line-out, England head coach Simon Middleton said: ’I backed us to have it, but we didn’t. They were great, went up, and challenged.

‘Sometimes things are written in the stars and I think it has been for the Black Ferns this tournament.’


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