The World Cup final loss to New Zealand on Saturday will not define England’s record-breaking team, according to captain Sarah Hunter, who added that there was much to be proud of in terms of raising the women’s game.
After playing for 62 minutes with 14 women at Eden Park, the Red Roses’ three-year reign of absolute domination and their 30-match winning run were ended by a 34-31 loss to the Black Ferns. “I believed the girls had left everything lying about. Hunter, who was playing his record-breaking 140th test, said, “Sixty minutes with our backs against the wall, to keep battling and to be in with an opportunity to win it right at the finish.
You couldn’t have asked for more from the girls, they’re a very special group, and we can be incredibly proud of what we’ve done for the women’s game. “It will hurt, we don’t want to be losing World Cup finals, especially in the way that we have, but I’m so, so proud of what we’ve done,” said coach Lisa Ling.
A beautiful show for women’s rugby, the 37-year-old loose forward said she would be glad to have been a part of “after the dust settles”. After putting on a performance in front of 40,000 or so spectators in a final, Hunter said, “You can’t expect nations not to invest in their teams.”
“Hasn’t it arrived at the party? The importance of women’s rugby has now becoming more widely recognised. That will hopefully spur other countries to declare that “we need to invest in our women’s game and level the playing field.” Similar to Hunter, head coach Simon Middleton praised New Zealand for their sixth World Cup victory and assured winger Lydia Thompson that her reckless challenge on Portia Woodman that led to her dismissal would not be punished.
He remarked, and Hunter nodded, “She’s fairly unhappy as you could think, but she is one of the greatest pros and nicest people you are ever likely to meet.” The next women’s World Cup will be held in England in 2025.