Rugby: Black Ferns cut loose against England

The Black Ferns have begun their three-test series against England with a comprehensive victory at Eden Park today. Photo/Getty Images.
The Black Ferns have begun their three-test series against England with a comprehensive victory at Eden Park today. Photo/Getty Images.

The Black Ferns have begun their three-test series against England with a comprehensive victory at Eden Park today.

In doing so they went some way to avenging their poor record against the visitors last year when they were whitewashed 3-0 in England.

Today, however, in the 1000th test in women's rugby, the Black Ferns showed their superior pace and skill when cutting loose late in the second half with tries to second five Amiria Rule and flanker Justine Lavea.

The two tries in a three-tries-to-one victory put a gloss on the final scoreline but it only got away from England in the final 15 minutes.

Until then the Black Ferns were up 17-10 and were struggling to find gaps in the English defence. It all changed extremely quickly, with Rule tiptoeing down the left touchline after a cut-out pass from Rawinia Everitt and Lavea scoring after an angled run from 20m out.

New Zealand began the match well, England taking until the final 10 minutes of the first half to get into the game but once they did their superior scrum took its toll.

Katy McLean's missed penalty was knocked on by Black Ferns No8 Casey Robertson and flanker Marlie Packer scored from the resulting scrum, a powerful one by England.

Kelly Brazier had opened the scoring for the Black Ferns with a penalty after 15 minutes, with right wing Portia Woodman scoring a try in her first competitive match of XVs rugby. The former netballer and rugby sevens player ran on to a cut-out pass from Brazier, making up for a missed opportunity minutes earlier when she was cut down by the cover defence in the right corner despite being put into the clear.

The second test is in Hamilton on Tuesday night with the third in Pukekohe on Saturday.

NZ 29 (Portia Woodman, Amiria Rule, Justine Lavea tries; Kelly Brazier con, 4 pens) bt England 10 (Marlie Packer try; Katy McLean con, pen). HT: 8-7.

- APNZ

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