16th November 2019, 07:10 | englandrl

England Women narrowly defeated by PNG

England Women narrowly defeated by PNG

England Women’s historic tour of Papua New Guinea ended in heartbreak as a last-minute Shirley Joe try sealed a 16-20 victory for the Orchids over Craig Richards’ side.

England levelled the scores with ten minutes remaining after tries from Captain Emily Rudge and Naomi Williams. Papua New Guinea had opened up a ten-point lead thanks to three unanswered tries from Carol Humeu, Belinda Gwasamum and Roswita Kapo either side of half time. Tara-Jane Stanley had opened the scoring after just two minutes.

England didn’t take long to take the lead as Stanley stepped her way over out on the left-hand side. Rhiannion Marshall – making her first appearance of the tour – had made the original break before Sinead Peach was hauled down. 

Stanley was hand on the 10-minute mark to further England’s lead as she successfully slotted a penalty goal from 30 metres out. 

However, the Orchids soon hit back as Carol Humeu powered her way over before the hosts took the lead as Belinda Gwasamum took advantage of an overlap out wide. The centre followed up with the conversion to give PNG a 10-6 lead which they would take into the interval. 

It was the hosts who began the second half the quicker as well as Roswita Kapo jumped from acting half-back and found a gap in the England defence. Erswin Kaiat converted. 

On the hour-mark, Emily Rudge – who scored four in Goroka last weekend – crossed for her fifth of the tour as she outmuscled three Orchids defenders to get the ball down. The scores were soon level as 18-year-old Georgia Roche put Naomi Williams into space and the St Helens centre finished well.

Both sides pushed for the winning score, but it would eventually go to the Orchids with what turned out to be the final play of the game. Shirley Joe managed to cut her way through the England line and dive over to seal Papua New Guinea Orchids’ first-ever international test victory.