Black Ferns keep Australia tryless for second straight game

By Campbell Burnes

The Black Ferns have claimed another convincing victory of the Wallaroos, winning the series 2-0. Photo / Photosport
The Black Ferns have claimed another convincing victory of the Wallaroos, winning the series 2-0. Photo / Photosport

Job done. Now for the bigger challenges of the northern tour.

The Blacks Ferns were predictably untroubled in sweeping the series 2-0 after defeating the Australian Wallaroos in Albany.

They retain the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy and have laid a solid foundation for next year's Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland. But for a long time they did not hit the high notes and will be disappointed they did not take a big step forward from Saturday's first test, won 67-3 at Eden Park. There was too much dropped ball, a key work-on from four days ago, and some tweaked backline combinations - Hazel Tubic went into No 10 in the second spell with Carla Hohepa to centre - did not quite gel.

The Wallaroos did hold the Black Ferns for large tracts of the first half, stiffening up their defensive line, which was so porous at Eden Park.

The wind was swirly, and there were squalls of rain before a small but vocal crowd at QBE Stadium.

Flanker Sarah Goss crossed after just four minutes, breaking through a lineout not long after Wallaroos No 14 Cobie-Jane Morgan was sinbinned. Prop Toka Natua dived over from close range and, at 12-3, the Black Ferns were travelling at a point a minute. But, despite a plethora of lineout ball from home town girl Charmaine Smith, it never really clicked for the Ferns. Kendra Cocksedge scored a try that was ruled out, as did Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate from a nifty lineout move. Honey Hireme did score after a Renee Wickliffe thrust. Selica Winiata, who had few opportunities to inject herself, ran in a sweet try from more than 50m out with her sheer pace.

"It was a bit messy but there. One thing we took out of it was that we didn't let them score on us, which was a big goal of ours," says Smith. "I'm loving the lineouts, though. We had the opportunity today to have a few attacking ones."

One of those attacking lineouts, called by Smith, nearly yielded a try to second five Kelly Brazier, who jumped at the front, but it was ruled out as the ball did not travel the 5m.

Australia's pack, led by locks Alisha Hewett and Chloe Butler, were industrious and much more physical than at Eden Park, whilst the scrum stood up to some severe heat. But the Wallaroos appeared to have little organised offensively.

The Black Ferns reassemble in a fortnight for their northern tour, in which they face Canada, Ireland and England, all sides who should feature at the pointy end of the World Cup.

Black Ferns 29 (Sarah Goss, Toka Natua, Honey Hireme, Portia Woodman, Selica Winiata tries; Kendra Cocksedge 2 con) Wallaroos 3 (Ashleigh Hewson pen) HT: 17-3

- NZ Herald

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