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Spencer pays tribute to players

England captain Catherine Spencer could not fault her team after the hosts suffered World Cup final heartbreak at the hands of New Zealand.

The Black Ferns triumphed 13-10 at Twickenham Stoop to claim a fourth successive world crown, leaving the hosts devastated after they battled back from a 7-0 half-time deficit to draw level at 10-10 just after the hour.

"I'm extremely gutted but at the same time so proud of this England team," Spencer told Sky Sports 3. "We pushed them so close and I really thought we were going to come back and get it."

She added: "Once again the defence was just outstanding, epitomised by our second row chasing down their winger.

"We'll look back and realise how good the game was, but just devastated we didn't get the win.

"We had trouble keeping the ball at the breakdown and we couldn't build our phases which obviously made it doubly hard for us.

"They had a lot of possession and a lot of territory as well, so the scoreline to be only three points down was good.

"We dug so deep. Maybe on another day we'd have come out victorious. I think everyone gave everything in this game and we'll start rebuilding for another four years' time."

Flanker Maggie Alphonsi, who produced another fine display in the final, left equally disappointed and just as determined as her skipper to go one better in 2014.

"We'll just go away work on things," she said. "It was a tough game. It was a very even game. The Kiwis were brilliant, but the English team played really well. The whole tournament has been fantastic. We'll go away and work hard and I guarantee in four years' time we'll come back and we'll change the score."

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