AUCKLAND, Nov 5, 2011 (FBC) France flyhalf Caroline Drouin scored a classic 25-24 winner at Eden Park on Saturday to clinch the Women’s Rugby World Cup final against England.
After being yellow-carded for a high tackle, Pop Santo Taumata then nodded home a last-minute left-footed shot in front as the Black Ferns made a great escape in front of a roaring crowd.
The hosts took a 17-10 lead at the break through goals from Ruby Tui and Theresa Fitzpatrick, and the French played well in the 70th minute, yellow carding fluffy striker Safi Ndiaye for another high tackle. .
No. 8 Roman Vogel scored two tries with 14 minutes remaining to pull the French within a point in a powerhouse display.
But the late disappearance of the old sealed their fate.
France centre-back Gabriel Vernier avoided blaming Drouin, saying his team could have won earlier.
“We are very proud today,” she said.
“We had to be better throughout the game, we had to be better defensively.”
New Zealand, who have won five of the last six World Cups, will face England again in the final in 2017.
Earlier in the semi-final at Eden Park, England beat Canada 26-19. Read more
“Obviously it was an unbelievable finish,” New Zealand coach Wayne Smith said.
“I thought it was gone but it wasn’t. It’s there and we’ve got a chance next week.”
France have never been World Cup contenders and will host a semi-final that they missed out on after working hard up front.
New Zealand saw a heavy, 17-yard attack on their try line in the first minute, but the pressure finally came in the 23rd minute when Menagher crashed over the left post.
France’s defense was ruthless and Vernier was lucky not to be booked after picking up a penalty on winger Tuin.
France finally conceded with Drou having a full possession after half an hour.
Flyhalf Ruhai Demant fired the ball wide to Stacey Fluhler, who fired the crowd into the left corner.
Fullback Renee Holmes’ conversion leveled the game at 10-10 but the French came again and Vernier blasted over the left post on the stroke of half-time.
The game reached its climax four minutes after the restart when Holmes sent the French defense ahead with a deft chip.
Human Lightning Tui won a challenge with Emily Bollard, who took the ball out of the fullback’s breath and chased it down the line for the try.
Although Holmes missed a conversion and a long-range penalty minutes later, the Black Ferns’ running game was at its best as the French tired.
Lock Maikawanakaulani Roos moved the hosts to within two meters of their position and Fitzpatrick headed over to grab New Zealand’s lead near the hour mark.
Demant’s conversion and penalty extended the lead to eight points but Menagher hit the Black Ferns’ net for her second try to set the record high.
More drama was to come Taumata collided with the prostitute Agathe Sochat, to tackle the top, the head of the television match, appeared directly in front of the posts.
Drou’s shot from 30 yards out was well wide, leaving France in agony as Black Ferns’ Kendra Coxridge headed wide as the home fans rejoiced.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford
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