Black Ferns have great opening to World Cup Campaign     10 Aug 2017    

The comprehensive 8-try win was built on a combination of stoic defence and backline flair, with the former no doubt particularly pleasing for coach Glenn Moore. The scoreline could have been more impressive but for an off day from halfback Kendra Cocksedge who missed her first 5 shots at goal and also received a yellow card late in the game.

The last time these two sides met was three years ago when the Black Ferns romped home 63 -7, but they faced a much stiffer test on this occasion as the Welsh dominated for good portions of the first half.

The Black Ferns built an early 10 - 0 lead through well taken tries to fullback Selica Winiata off a Portia Woodman break before patient build up and quick hands put centre Stacey Waaka over out wide.

Wales then got their own game going as they kept it tight and used their forwards to hammer away at the fringes. Staunch goal line defence from the black forwards repelled them and when they looked for space wide it was Woodman and fellow wing Renee Wickliffe who came up with some telling hits to shut down scoring opportunities.

The turning point came with halftime approaching when Wales won a penalty and kicked for the corner and a chance to set up a rolling maul. The normally reliable tactic failed when they lost possession and conceded a penalty, with the Black Ferns clearing and then immediately launching an attack that saw Wickliffe dot down. That cruel blow was compounded when Wickliffe swooped on an intercept to notch a double as the siren sounded for the break.

The Black Ferns opened the second spell in ruthless fashion with tries to second-five Kelly Brazier and lock Eloise Blackwell to quell any thoughts Wales might have had of staging a comeback.

The plucky Welsh will be pleased to have cracked the black wall twice given the amount of ball they secured, once from a big midfield break and the second through a successful lineout drive. Though clean-heeled fullback Winiata punished them in response on each occasion to end the game with a hat-trick to her name.

With their campaign off to a strong start the Black Ferns next line up minnows Hong Kong before facing a big test in their final pool game against last World Cup runners up Canada next week.