New Zealand shrugged off a double yellow-card setback to defeat England 13-10 and win the women’s World Cup for a fourth successive time on Sunday.
Anna Richards and Mel Bosman were both sin-binned in the first-half at the Twickenham Stoop but the Black Ferns still powered to a 7-0 lead at the break thanks to a try from winger Carla Hohepa.
The teams traded penalties early in the second period before Charlotte Barras touched down and Katy McLean converted to get England back on level terms at 10-10.
But Kelly Brazier’s penalty 15 minutes from time edged New Zealand ahead again and this time England had no answer.
“These girls were brilliant today,” said New Zealand captain Melissa Ruscoe.
“Without a huge amount of resources — we certainly didn’t have anywhere near what other teams have had here — but when you’ve got the support like we’ve had here, you’re playing for everybody.
“You’re not just playing for yourself, and I think that got us over the line.”
England captain Catherine Spencer said: “I’m extremely gutted but at the same time so proud of this England team.
“We pushed them so close and I really thought we were going to come back and get it. Once again the defence was just outstanding, epitomised by our second row chasing down their winger.
“We’ll look back and realise how good the game was, but just devastated we didn’t get the win.”
Australia saw off France 22-8 to secure third place.