England crush NZ for second straight win

England hooker Amy Cokayne scored a hat trick of tries as the Red Roses powered past world champions New Zealand 56-15 at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday for their second victory by a record winning margin over the Black Ferns in as many weeks.

In the second of back-to-back clashes between the two top-ranked sides in the world, England — who claimed a 43-12 win in front of nearly 10,000 supporters at Sandy Park last Sunday — produced a dominant display that flattened their opponents.

It was the first time that the team had secured consecutive victories over the Black Ferns since 2012, to send out a timely reminder to fellow title contenders ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Victory also stretched England’s unbeaten run to 16 matches with Ellie Kildunne, Leanne Infante, Lark Davies and Abby Dow all crossing the line, while Zoe Harrison’s conversions meant New Zealand were never in the contest.

“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,” Cokayne said.

“As a forward pack we spoke all week about having to back up our performances and so to do it again this week is huge for us.

“The Black Ferns are a great side, so to put 50 points on them is huge, it goes to show the hard work we’ve been putting in and support we have received.”

New Zealand’s Portia Woodman scored two tries and Stacey Fluhler also crossed the line but could not prevent the rout.

“We’re here to make sure we push ourselves as hard as we can and we’re doing that justice,” skipper Poppy Cleall said. “Today was a hugely proud moment for me and my career, I couldn’t have wished for more.”