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Black Ferns pour on the heat to beat Australia

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Lynn McConnell     13 Jun 2017     Getty Images

New Zealand led 34-5 and it was just as well as the conditions worsened in the second half. Australia had cause to be pleased with the outcome, not only doing better than last year's record 67-3 loss to the Black Ferns but coming back in the second half to score two tries.

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Australia had started with physical intent, especially with No.8 Victoria Latu, as she did all game, making some strong runs from the base of the scrum. At one stage the New Zealanders had won only one ruck to 29 won by Australia. However, the Black Ferns' defence, and ability to turn play around quickly minimised the impact of the Australian approach.



Absorbing the early pressure, the New Zealanders secured a turnover on the right flank by fullback Selica Winiata. The ball was moved wide quickly to give left wing Portia Woodman enough room to use her speed to round Australian left wing Samantha Treherne to open the scoring after six minutes.

Australia poured the pressure on again but another mistake gave the ball to New Zealand and halfback Kendra Cocksedge put a long kick downfield. Fullback Ashleigh Hewson attempted to get a clearing kick in but it was charged down by fast-following New Zealand fullback Selica Winiata and she recovered the ball to score.

Two minutes later Winiata was in again when taking a gap after Woodman had been grounded on the left.

Right wing Honey Hireme used her footwork to break the defence and race down the sideline. She looked for support and found it in the shape of hooker and captain Faio'o Fa'amausili whose try took New Zealand out to 22-0.
The Black Ferns props Toko Natua and Aldora Itunu were prominent in some powerful forward rushes and it was Natua who got over the line to score.

Australia had some reward for their positive intent when taking a tap penalty just on the New Zealand 22m line with first five-eighths Fenella Hake making a searching break before getting the ball to wing Cobie-Jane Morgan who scored in the corner in the 28th minute.

Having become a little unstructured, the New Zealanders found it tougher to break the Australian defence with players twice being held up over the line. But an offside infringement saw the Black Ferns opt for a scrum from which No.8 Charmaine McMenamin passed for Cocksedge to dummy and take the gap to score beneath the cross bar.

Woodman scored her second try eight minutes into the second half after good work by the tight forwards driving into the south-west wind before moving the ball to the short side for Woodman to put her speed to use again.

With hail falling at stages, and the temperature dropping, the Australians created chances by opting to take tap penalties to challenge the home side. Hooker Cheyenne Campbell scored in the 56th minute then Latu had her reward with a 73rd minute try, both from penalty taps.

New Zealand enjoyed a strong finish when blindside flanker Charmaine Smith got across after two five metre scrums had allowed them to set up drives at the line which finally wore down the Australian defence.

Scorers: Black Ferns 44 (Portia Woodman 2, Selica Winiata 2, Fiao'o Fa'amausili, Toka Natua, Kendra Cocksedge, Charmaine Smith tries; Cocksedge 2 con) Australia 17 (Cobie-Jane Morgan, Cheyenne Campbell, Victoria Latu tries; Fenella Hake con). HT: 34-5