England’s record winning run over after agonising World Cup final defeat

England’s Test-record 30-match winning run has come to an end after the Red Roses were beaten 34-31 by New Zealand in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park on Saturday.

The loss means Simon Middleton’s side have suffered their first defeat since July 2019, but have blown past the Black Ferns’ previous world record of 24 successive Test wins.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the sequence of results and how it compares.

New Zealand v England – Women’s Rugby World Cup – Final – Eden Park
Ruby Tui celebrates after New Zealand beat England in the World Cup final (Brett Phibbs/PA)

Previous record

New Zealand won 24 straight Tests from May 2002 before losing 10-3 to England in November 2009.

Along the way they scored 871 points, an average of 36.3 per game, and conceded only 153 – less than a converted try, 6.4 points, per match.

While England were the team to end the run, they were also the most frequent opponents along the way with the Black Ferns winning six meetings between the sides, by scores of 19-9, 38-0, 24-15, 33-8, 25-17 and 16-3.

They had five wins over Australia and four against Canada, with France, Scotland, Germany, the United States, Samoa and a World XV their other victims.

England’s run

New Zealand v England – Women’s Rugby World Cup – Final – Eden Park
England had not lost a game since July 2019 prior to Saturday’s loss in the final (Brett Phibbs/PA)

September’s 73-7 hammering of Wales saw England head into the World Cup as record-breakers and they went on to beat Fiji, France, South Africa, Australia and Canada to reach the final.

Prior to Saturday’s loss in the final, England had not lost a Test match since July 2019, with a 28-13 defeat to New Zealand after Renee Wickliffe’s hat-trick.

England beat France in three of their next four Tests and nine times in total on the run – with those matches ranking as the nine narrowest winning margins until the 26-19 semi-final win over Canada.

England beat Les Bleues by two points on three occasions, four, six (twice), 10, 12 and 23 and every other opponent prior to Canada by at least 27.

Their overall record for the 30-game unbeaten stretch read 1,405 points scored and only 247 conceded, a per-match average of 46.8 to 8.2.

That included a pair of comprehensive wins over New Zealand, 43-12 and 56-15 in the autumn of 2021, and Wayne Smith’s side followed up those losses with two more against France but have been perfect since, now moving to a 12-match winning run after taking their revenge in the final.

The Kiwis secured a semi-final win over France by a single point in Auckland before successfully defending their title and winning their sixth World Cup.