JOHN WALES IN AMSTERDAM
New Zealand 46 USA 12
FROM the moment the All Blacks arrived here 16 days ago their desire to lift the women's rugby World Cup has been as overwhelming as their performances. Their invincibility did not, however, create a sense of anticlimax as they disposed of the United States 46 12 in the final.The match was a personal triumph for the All Black wing Vanessa Cootes, who came to the World Cup with the most prolific scoring record in women's international rugby. She scored five tries in Saturday's match to take her tally for the competition to eight and increase her record to 35 touchdowns in only nine games.
The defending champions England made up for their defeat by the All Blacks in the semi-final by securing third place with a 81 15 victory over Canada during which the Wasps full-back Sue Day scored four tries. The Five Nations champions Scotland lost the consolation Plate final, going down 25 15 to Australia.
Such is the interest in the women's game in New Zealand that the final was televised live. Other countries, including South Africa, have voiced a desire to participate in the 2002 tournament.
The New Zealand captain Farah Palmer said: 'We are absolutely ecstatic; I don't think this will ever sink in. The support from New Zealand has been unbelievable and we've been inundated with faxes and calls of best wishes.'
The United States' French coach Franck Boivert, who leaves the Eagles to coach Fiji's men's side, said: 'No matter how hard your own team tries to take the game to the All Blacks, they are faster, fitter and better. I don't believe anyone can stop them; they are unbeatable.'
"Rugby Union: Cootes crosses five times in a one-woman walkover: Women's World Cup Final." Guardian [London, England] 18 May 1998