France miss late penalty as New Zealand win thriller to reach World Cup final

Holders New Zealand survived a last-minute missed penalty from France to book their place in the World Cup final against England with a 25-24 win in Auckland.

After the Red Roses had earlier seen off Canada, it was time for the Black Ferns to take centre stage at Eden Park.

Hosts New Zealand, though, were pushed all the way by a determined French side, with Caroline Drouin missing a penalty in the 80th minute which would have sealed a memorable victory.

France raced into a 10-0 lead following an early penalty by fly-half Drouin and then a try from Marine Menager.

New Zealand, though, were soon back on level terms after Stacey Fluhler went over only for France to score another try from Gabrielle Vernier just before the break to go into half-time 17-10 ahead.

Ruby Tui scored for the hosts again soon after the restart, with Renee Holmes missing the chance of the extra points before Theresa Fitzpatrick charged through to make it 22-17 just before the hour.

A penalty from captain Ruahei Demant looked to have put the match beyond France heading into the closing stages.

However, a driving maul from a line-out ended with Menager touching down between the posts to reduce the deficit to just one point.

A high tackle from Santo Taumata on Agathe Sochat was revived by the Television Match Official (TMO), resulting in a yellow card for the replacement prop and a penalty for France – which Drouin sent agonisingly wide as the hosts held out.