England women will learn from defeat to New Zealand according to coach Simon Middleton after they missed out on overall victory in the 2019 Super Series.
In a repeat of the last World Cup final, Grand Slam champions England went into their clash with the Black Ferns knowing that a win would complete a perfect Super Series and secure the title.
However, Renee Wickliffe scored a hat-trick as New Zealand came from behind to run out 28-13 victors.
And Middleton admitted that his team had struggled to cope with the physicality of their opponents in San Diego.
He said: “I thought they were incredibly physical and we struggled to deal with that, and never really got going, but that is because of the way they played.
“It is one of those where the players will reflect back on and learn, as will the coaches. It’s a huge experience for the younger ones to come into a Test environment and get schooled a little bit, which I think happened – the best side won by a mile.
“It has been a good competition for us, where we’ve shown a lot of character and composure, but there are still lots of things for us to polish up on in our general play in both attack and defence.
“We came here to be as successful as we could but also to develop and learn. An experience like this, you learn a lot from, but it is quite chastening.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 14, 2019
England had taken an early lead thanks to a penalty from Emily Scarratt and although Kendra Cocksedge levelled the scores, Scarratt went over for a try soon after to make it 10-3.
Wickliffe went over twice before half-time to give New Zealand a 15-10 lead.
And despite another Scarratt penalty cutting the deficit to two, two penalties from Cocksedge and a third try from Wickliffe sealed victory for New Zealand.
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) July 15, 2019
In the day’s other game, France finished their campaign on a high with a thumping 53-14 win over the USA to finish third overall.
Les Bleues had beaten New Zealand before losing late on to England – but they were clinical in seeing off the hosts.
Madassou Fall and Emeline Gros both crossed for their first tries in French colours as France led 20-0 at the break.
The attacking intent continued in the second half, with Laure Sansus coming off the bench to record a double, while Céline Ferer, Cyrielle Banet and Marine Ménager also went over.
Jessy Trémoulière chipped in with 14 points from the kicking tee, while Emma Coudert added a pair of conversions in the second half.
Super Series Final Standings
New Zealand – 14 points
England – 13 points
France – 10 points
Canada – 7 points
USA – 4 points