The Black Ferns produced the resounding victory to confirm New Zealand's world champion status at Eden Park.

But New Zealand Rugby's bid to host the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup didn't quite get the shot in the arm it was hoping for. NZR had made a big play to entice people to Eden Park early to ensure the Black Ferns kicked off in front of a reasonable number of people.

Billed as a double-header, NZR hoped those people who had initially bought their tickets to watch the All Blacks, would see the evening as two genuine tests rather than one being a curtain-raiser to the other.

But old habits die hard and Eden Park, at 5pm when the Ferns kicked off, looked as empty as it does when Auckland play at the same cavernous ground.


Even as the game came into the final quarter – one in which the Black Ferns were in fifth gear – the stadium felt more half empty than half full.

And this is the battle women's rugby faces – it's not going to be easy to change attitudes or viewing behavior.

It made sense on a cost basis to stage the series with the Wallaroos as two double-headers with the Bledisloe Cup. It gave both tests TV exposure as well but the downside is that it still feels that the Ferns are operating in the shadow of the All Blacks.

It still feels like women's rugby has to piggy-back onto the male game if it is to have any chance of building interest and audience.

Perhaps in time this strategy will work and more people will buy into the idea of a test match being two-for-the-price-of-one.

Perhaps in time it will be commonplace for fans to think as much about the Ferns as they do the All Blacks or at least realise that there is good reason to head to the stadium early.

Those who did make it saw the Ferns build into another decent performance where they were more physical and direct than the Wallaroos.

They had too much power in the pack and were well organised defensively and their performance was built on those two pillars.


Some of their passing when they went wide to exploit the inevitable overlaps they created needs to be improved as it lacked a crispness and accuracy.

But other than that, there wasn't much to fault in what was 80 minutes of good entertainment.