The Silver Ferns have closed out their UK tour with a convincing 72-39 win over Wales in Cardiff this morning.

The scoreline may have been convincing, but the performance was not always so, as the Ferns lacked the same sharpness and intensity they displayed in yesterday's stunning 65-goal win.

The halving of the scoreline also had a lot to do with the improvement Wales showed in their second outing, with the world number-eight side showing a much stronger poise and defensive resolve.

Just as they did in yesterday's 92-27 win, the Ferns started slowly, with Wales doing a good job of disrupting the New Zealand attack.


Unlike yesterday, Wales were able to maintain the defensive pressure right through the opening quarter, preventing the new shooting pairing of Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Maia Wilson from settling.

The Welsh defensive pairing of Nia Jones and Kelly Morgan restricted the Ferns to just 15 goals in the opening spell - well short of the 23 goals they averaged in the opener.

With front-line shooters Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes rested from the match for "load management" purposes, the Ferns didn't have the option of going to their bench.

Mes picked up a minor back strain in last week's Quad Series, while Tutaia cut her knee when she crashed into a digital advertising screen in Monday's finale against South Africa, and the decision was made not to risk either of them for the match.

Wilson, making her first test start, was particularly shaky early on. The 19-year-old committed five turnovers in the first half and picked up a couple of offensive penalties.

Leading 15-12 at the first break, the Ferns found a better rhythm on attack in the second period, but still weren't able to come up with the number of defensive stops they would have hoped for.

The Welsh shooting pairing seemed unfazed by the height of 1.92m defence Kelly Jury and were confident going to the post from all areas of the circle.

That confidence transferred through the court, as the midcourters didn't have the same hesitation on their feeding into the circle as they had the previous day.

Nippy wing attack Bethan Dyke was particularly impressive, finding easy passage to the circle edge.

By halftime, the Ferns had only amassed a 10-goal advantage - well short of their targets for the game.

Needing a spark on attack, Ferns coach Janine Southby opted to shift Grace Rasmussen across from wing attack to goal attack, with Te Paea Selby-Rickit moving back into goal shoot in place of Wilson.

Silver Ferns skipper Katrina Grant lifts the Wendy White trophy. Photo/PHOTOSPORT
Silver Ferns skipper Katrina Grant lifts the Wendy White trophy. Photo/PHOTOSPORT

The 1.77m Rasmussen was first selected in the national side as a goal attack in 2010, but hasn't played in the shooting circle for the Ferns since the Delhi Commonwealth Games, with her lack of height forcing her further up the court.

Rasmussen does not appear to have lost her natural instincts for the role, with the 28-year-old producing a player-of-the-series performance in her shooting cameo.

Her crafty positional play helped open up the shooting circle for Selby-Rickit, as she played the role of a third feeder. She also proved in good touch with her shooting, netting seven of her nine attempts.

By the end of the third quarter, the Ferns had doubled their lead to 20 goals, before once again producing their best effort in the final spell, as the Welsh tired over the latter stages.