England and their Cumbrian stars faced heartbreak in the Women's Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand.

The Red Roses lost a dramatic final in Auckland 34-31.

It meant disappointment for Keswick's Abbie Ward, who started for England, and Maryport's Cath O'Donnell, who was among the replacements.

The result brought England's 30-game winning run to an end in an eventful final.

It came in an eventful clash which saw England play much of the game with 14 players following a red card for Lydia Thompson for a high tackle on Portia Woodman.

That came after England had led through converted tries by Ellie Kildunne and Amy Cokayne.

The Black Ferns hit back through a Georgia Ponsonby try and, after further tries were exchanged through England's Marlie Packer and Cokayne, and New Zealand's Marlie Packer and Amy Rule, England led 26-19 at half-time.

New Zealand fought back and went ahead through Stacey Fluhler and Krystal Murray tries, before Cokayne brought up her hat-trick to give England a narrow 31-29 lead.

But Ayesha Leti-I'iga restored the home nation's lead and they held off England to secure the trophy.

England head coach Simon Middleton said he was proud of England despite the heartbreaking defeat.

"They gave absolutely everything not just tonight but the 51 days we've been here [at the World Cup]," he told ITV.

"And they've done nothing but given their absolute best every day.

"It's tough with 14 players  for that long. They [New Zealand] played a great game of rugby, put us under a lot of pressure and we put them under pressure. It could've gone either way at the end.

"Overall, I'm just so proud of the players. They couldn't have given any more."