England v New Zealand Rugby World Cup final could be a classic – Scarratt
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday, 12 November Kick-off: 06:30 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live; follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

England face hosts and holders New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final at 06:30 GMT on Saturday.

The Red Roses have been top of the world rankings since November 2020 and have won their past 30 Tests – the longest streak in the history of international rugby.

However, they have never beaten New Zealand in a World Cup final in four attempts.

Here is everything you need to know about this weekend’s decider.

How can I follow the World Cup final?

The final will be live on BBC Radio 5 Live, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. You can watch it on ITV.

Who will win?

The final is likely to be a big clash of playing styles.

England have favoured a forwards-focused game, driving the ball over the tryline after a line-out.

Contrastingly, the Black Ferns play chaotically, throwing the ball around and making use of star wings Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui to score tries.

New Zealand are chasing a sixth World Cup, having never lost in the final, while England seek a third after becoming world champions in 1994 and 2014.

England were given full-time contracts in 2019 and the Black Ferns only got them in February 2022.

The extra time being professional changed England’s standing in the world game and they claimed back-to-back record wins against New Zealand in the autumn of 2021.

But the Black Ferns are the last side England lost to – in July 2019 – and the Red Roses have never beaten New Zealand at a World Cup.

New Zealand’s team for the final contains 11 players who suffered the record 2021 defeats and six who won the 2017 decider. There are nine players in England’s team who lost that final.

England’s winning streak meant they came into the World Cup as firm favourites. As New Zealand have grown into the tournament, they have closed the gap. Whether they have caught up completely remains to be seen.

Sarah Hunter – England want to play without fear

Where is the World Cup final?

The final will be played at Eden Park in Auckland, where New Zealand have never lost.

Before this World Cup, no-one had ever paid to watch the Black Ferns play in New Zealand.

Now, Eden Park – the home of New Zealand rugby – has sold out for the occasion as the country gets behind its women’s team for the first time. There have even been reports of people selling concert tickets for Saturday night to make sure they can watch the final live.

With a capacity of more than 40,000, it is likely to be a record attendance for a women’s rugby match.

The previous record was set on the tournament’s opening day, when there were 34,235 fans at Eden Park.

By the end of this tournament, more than 140,000 fans will have been at the games, more than any other World Cup after the total attendance in 2017 was 45,412.

Back in England, local clubs are putting on watch parties and famous rugby pub The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham will be opening its doors early.

Rugby World Cup finalists England hope to inspire next generation

Who are the players to watch?

The battle between Abby Dow and Ruby Tui on the wing is likely to be the most exciting watch.

The charismatic Tui has never played England in XVs and rose to stardom in sevens, where she helped New Zealand to Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Dow defied a surgeon’s verdict to make it back from a broken leg in just five months to reach the World Cup and looked more powerful than ever as she scored arguably the try of the tournament in the semi-final against Canada.

What have they said?

England head coach Simon Middleton: “[The crowd] will be more intimidating for them. To lose in front of your home crowd is a tough gig. The pressure on them is absolutely massive.”

New Zealand director of rugby Wayne Smith: “We’re in a place that probably not a lot of people thought we would have got to. We’ve got the best team probably of all time at the weekend. We’re just enjoying it. We’ve got to be at our very best – every single individual – to get close.”

What are the teams?

England’s Holly Aitchison and Emily Scarratt start together in the centre for the first time this World Cup, while Ellie Kildunne steps in for injured full-back Helena Rowland.

Claudia MacDonald moves to the bench, providing cover at scrum-half with Lucy Packer out of the squad, and lock Cath O’Donnell is a surprise inclusion among the replacements.

New Zealand have made one injury-enforced change as number eight Charmaine McMenamin replaces Liana Mikaele-Tu’u.

England: Kildunne; Thompson, Scarratt, Aitchison, Dow; Harrison, Infante; Cornborough, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, M Packer, Hunter (capt).

Replacements: Davies, Muir, Brown, O’Donnell, Cleall, Kabeya, MacDonald, Heard.

New Zealand: Holmes; Tui, Fluhler, Fitzpatrick, Woodman; Demant (capt), Cocksedge; Love, Ponsonby, Rule, Roos, C Bremner, A Bremner, Hirini, McMenamin.

Replacements: Connor, Murray, Taumata, Ngan-Woo, Simon, Bayler, Tubic, Leti-I’iga.

Referee: Hollie Davidson (Sco)

Pool stage Quarter-final
England 84-19 Fiji England 41-5 Australia
England 13-7 France Semi-final
England 75-0 South Africa England 26-19 Canada
England’s Amy Cokayne, the Red Rose who could have been a Black Fern, looks forward to the World Cup final

Around the BBC - SoundsAround the BBC footer - Sounds