|Australia (20) 54|
|Tries: Sergis (2), Kelly (2), Robinson, Tonegato, Aiken, Cherrington (2), Pelite Goals: Brigginshaw (2), Brown (5)|
|New Zealand (0) 4|
Australia produced a superb display to thrash New Zealand as they claimed a record-equalling third Women’s World Cup triumph at Old Trafford.
The Jillaroos, unbeaten since 2016, have now won the last three tournaments to equal the milestone set by the Kiwi Ferns between 2000-2008.
Jessica Sergis’ fifth-minute try set the tone for a one-sided affair, with Julia Robinson and Isabelle Kelly then twice crossing before the break as the defending champions established a 20-0 half-time lead.
New Zealand arrived at their sixth consecutive final with plenty of optimism, having acquitted themselves well in a slender group-stage loss to Australia.
However, they were simply swept aside on the biggest stage of all by a ruthlessly efficient Australia, inspired by Ali Brigginshaw.
The vastly experienced Brigginshaw had a hand in four of Australia’s first five tries and replicated her player of the match performance from 2017 with several excellent breaks, incisive passes and a series of spiralling kicks.
While the Manchester crowd got behind the visibly dispirited New Zealand side, with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ accompanying rare breaks through the Australian line, any hopes they had of mounting a remarkable fightback were extinguished within 12 minutes of the restart.
Emma Tonegato darted past two defenders after collecting an inside pass from Brigginshaw and Sergis’ momentum then saw her roll over for her second try of the match.
While the previous two finals between the world’s leading two nations had been close affairs, with no more than 10 points separating the teams, Tarryn Aiken’s try kept the scoreboard ticking over for Brad Donald’s side.
Although the loudest cheer of the day was reserved for a sweeping New Zealand move that saw Madison Bartlett dive over in the corner, two tries from Kennedy Cherrington and Evania Pelite’s late effort ensured Australia concluded the match with a resounding victory and the second biggest ever winning margin in a final.
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