England came from behind to beat the Black Ferns of New Zealand 16-13 at Esher RFC on Friday evening while France beat the USA 13-0 at Stade Marcel Garcin in Orleans on Wednesday.
The Black Ferns, winners of the last Women's World Cup, are in England for a three-Test series. The USA, who beat Italy last week, will play against France on Saturday at Stade de France.
After flyhalf Katy McLean had put England 3-0 up New Zealand came back strongly. No. 8 Casey Robertson charged down Katy McClean's attempt at a clearing kick and scored and then inside centre Kelly Brazier kicked a penalty.
The Black Ferns led 8-3 at half-time.
Flyhalf Kendra Cocksedge darted through a gap to take New Zealand to 13-3.
England came back strongly, especially when New Zealand had a played in the sin bin. No. 8 Sarah Hunter got over for a try and then Emily Scarratt kicked a penalty goal. 13-11 to New Zealand.
England were now well on top and a backline movement gave ?? Merchant and overlap for a try in the corner, the winning try.
England coach Gary Street said: "It was great to get the win to start the series off but we certainly made it hard work for ourselves. We didn't execute at time which meant that we missed a lot of chances - we certainly should have had more points on the board in the first half.
"Throughout the match we showed a lot of diversity with several players having to play out of position but their knowledge and skill base, as well as character, shone through. With the next game on Tuesday recovery is key."
Tries: Hunter, Merchant
Pens: Katy McLean , Emily Scarratt
For New Zealand:
Tries: Robertson, Cocksedge
England: 15 Danielle Waterman, 14 Katherine Merchant, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Alice Richardson, 11 Michaela Staniford, 10 Katy McLean (captain), 9 Natasha Hunt, 8 Sarah Hunter, 7 Marlie Packer, 6 Heather Fisher, 5 Rowena Burnfield, 4 Tamara Taylor, 3 Laura Keates, 2 Victoria Fleetwood, 1 Rochelle Clark
Replacements: 16 Emma Croker, 17 Rosemarie Crowley, 18 Sophie Hemming, 19 Emily Braund, 20 Alexandra Matthews,
21 Georgina Gulliver, 22 Francesca Matthews, 23 Joanne Watmore
New Zealand: 15 Selica Winiata, 14 Halie Hurring, 13 Claire Richardson, 12 Kelly Brazier, 11 Shakira Baker, 10 Kendra Cocksedge, 9 Emma Jensen, 8 Casey Robertson, 7 Justine Lavea, 6 Aroha Savage, 5 Rawinia Everitt, 4 Eloise Blackwell, 3 Kathleen Wilton, 2 Fiao'o Fa’amasuilI (captain), 1 Ruth McKay
Replacements: 16 Karina Stowers, 17 Stephanie TeOhaere-Fox, 18 Aleisha Nelson, 19 Jackie Patea, 20 Lydia Crossman, 21 Zoey Berry, 22 Victoria Nafatali, 23 Hazel Tubic
Referee: Claire Hodnett (England)
Assistant referees: Phil Bowers (England), Ken Morgan (England)
Penalties played havoc with the touring USA side. The penalty count against them was 15-2 and there was a penalty try to boot, the only try of the match.
The match was also characterised by strong defence by both sides.
Just before half-time Jessy Tremouliere opened the scoring with a penalty goal. Early in the second half she made it 6-0.
A yellow card for Ashley Kmiecik, helped France's cause and they were awarded a penalty try at a scrum.
Afterwards the US coach Pete Steinberg said: “We played very well. We were physical and did an outstanding job defensively. I'm disappointed with how skewed the penalty count was, but that isn't something that we can control and we must play through it.”
Try: penalty try
Pens: Tremouliere 2
France: Jessy Trémoulière, 14 Céline Heguy, 13 Lucille Godiveau,12 Sandra Metier, Cécilia Saubusse, 10 Audrey Parra, 9 Laurène Camoin 8 Manon André, 7 Laëtitia Grand, 6 Lucie Canal, 5 Lenaig Corson, 4 Sandra Rabier, 3 Elodie Portaries, Gaëlle Mignot (captain), Aurélie Vernhet
Replacements: 16 Hélène Ezanno, 17 Laëtitia Salles, 18 Assa Koïta, 19 Christelle Chobet, 20 Coumba Tombe Diallo, 21 Marie-Alice Yahé, 22 Aurélie Bailon, 23 Camille Grassineau
USA: 15 Kimber Rozier, 14 Kaelene Lundstrum, 13 Ashley Kmiecik, 12 Sam Pankey, 11 Meya Bizer, 10 Hannah Stolba,9 Jennifer Lui, 8 Mel Denham, 7 Lynelle Kugler,6 Laura Miller, Sharon Blaney,4 Rosie Miesner, 3 Jamie Burke (captain), 2 Katy Augustyn, 1 Naima Reddick
Replacements: 16 Kittery Wagner, 17 Sarah Wilson, 18 Sarah Chobot, 19 Stacey Bridges, 20 Shaina Turley, 21 Carrie White, 22 Sadie Anderson, 23 Amy Daniels
Referee: Clare Daniels (England)
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.