Women's Rugby World Cup Odds: New Zealand Second Favourites For A Fifth Title

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Women's Rugby World Cup Odds: New Zealand Second Favourites For A Fifth Title
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Have everyone’s heart rates recovered yet? In what was a brilliant advertisement for women’s rugby, both Rugby World Cup finalists have been found in dramatic fashion, after two pulsating semifinals over the weekend. 

Eden Park is officially sold out for the final on Saturday night between the Black Ferns and England, with the English going in as slight favourites with all the best betting sites.

However, there are a lot of things to consider as this is a very unique occasion for both sides and everyone watching. 

This will be yet another record crowd for a women’s rugby international, the first time England will have had to play in front of such an audience wanting them to lose, plus the Black Ferns seem to be timing their run of form to perfection.

What Happened Last Time?

England were expected to mop the floor with Canada, however the underdogs almost pulled off a massive upset. 

The heavily favoured English looked a bit short of a gallop in a game they perhaps took a bit lightly, after scoring two early tries thy let the plucky Canadians back in the game by half-time.

England finally ran out winners by 26-19, but it’s fair to say that was too close for comfort for the rugby betting sites tournament favourites. 

Was it a blip or a sign that the English rose is finally wilting a bit after 30 test wins in-a-row?

Somehow, the next semi-final between the Black Ferns and France managed to be even more dramatic and entertaining, going right down to the wire. 

The Black Ferns prevailed 25-24, but only after a wild last five minutes in which they seemed to do everything they could to lose.

Firstly the good stuff: for the most part, this was the most complete Black Ferns performance of the season, against a team that beat them comfortably twice only a year ago.

They showed composure in scoring some very good tries, with the teams’ strength showing when Stacey Fluhler crossed after a quick tap five metres out caught the French napping and left her open out wide. 

The set piece was solid, plus the discipline, which cost them so badly last season, has improved out of sight.

But there were some very worrying signs too. Once again, it took far too long for the Black Ferns to get into the game, they gave up a 10-0 lead after only 15 minutes. 

While the defence was strong, they were opened up by a French side running hard and fast into the midfield. 

The biggest issue was how easily the team lost their heads while clinging to a one-point lead, though.

For some reason, Kendra Cocksedge decided to take quick tap penalty kicks, which led to turnovers. Krystal Murray inadvertandly kicked for touch with time still on the clock. 

Santo Taumata should have been sent off for a foolishly high shot, that led to a penalty shot at goal that would have won France the game. 

In a stroke of supremely good luck, Caroline Drouin’s kick never even looked like going over.

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What Could Happen This Weekend?

Betting apps expect England to win and unless the Black Ferns can learn from that almost disastrous last five minutes, it’s fair to say the Red Roses will cash in on anything even resembling a panic moment. 

The English will once again rely heavily on their lineout drive, which will be set up by entries into the 22 off penalties. 

Once the ball goes into the 22 in a women’s game, it mostly stays there until someone scores, so it’s a fair shout to predict that a lineout drive try will be the first scoring play.

If the Black Ferns get on top early, they will strike out wide through their wingers. As good as England are, the women’s game is much more expansive when players are given just a little bit of space for a one on one contest. The Black Ferns have been very good in that area.

The loose forward battle will be interesting. The Black Ferns have lost Liana Mikaele-Tu’u to injury, which is a big one as she has been in very good form so far this season. 

England’s captain Sarah Hunter is the most experienced player on the field and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Really though, the biggest factor will be the 40,000 strong crowd. The Black Ferns have had the Eden Park wave of emotion behind them twice in the tournament so far, whereas this will be easily the biggest crowd England have ever played in front of.

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Black Ferns Schedule:

Game one result – Black Ferns 41 Australia 17

Eden Park, 8 October

Game two result – Black Ferns 56 Wales 12

Waitakere Stadium, 16 October

Game three result – Black Ferns 57 v Scotland 0

Okara Park, 22 October

Quarter-Final result – Black Ferns 55 v Wales 3

Okara Park, 29 October 

Semi-Final – Black Ferns 25 v France 24

Eden Park, 5 November 7:30pm

Final – Black Ferns v England

Eden Park, 12 November 7:30pm

Key Facts 

This is the 30th time these two sides have met since in 1997. That first game was also the Black Ferns’ largest ever win, by 67-0.

While much has been made of England’s good record against the Black Ferns lately, having convincingly won the last two tests played, this is not the first time the Red Roses have dominated proceedings. 

In 2011-12, the teams played six times, with England winning five and one test ending in a draw.

This will be the third time the Black Ferns and England have played on Eden Park, with the last test in 2013 being a 29-10 win to the home side. The Black Ferns are unbeaten in 10 tests played on Eden Park.

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