The Wallaroos have gone down 29-3 to the Black ferns in their 2nd match playing for the Laurie O’Reilly Cup. The Aussie girls showed a lot of improvement from their previous game, not allowing the Black Ferns the space they had in their last outing. Captain Ash Hewson led from the front with a strong game.
On the game, assistant coach Scott Allen said, “Good to see the girls step up yesterday. Black Ferns are a very good team and we think the score yesterday is reflective of where we are, whereas the score on Saturday was not.”
The game was punctuated by handling errors from both sides, leading to a large number of scrums. The Black Ferns appeared to have ascendency at scrum time, repeatedly pressuring the Wallaroos into going backwards. Despite this, the Wallaroos were mostly able to retain possession from their own feeds, despite being under immense pressure.
The Wallaroos were under the gun almost immediately when they were penalised in their own half for incorrectly joining the ruck. To make things tougher they also lost winger Cobie-Jane Morgan to the sin bin for use of foul language.
The Black Ferns were the first to get on the score board through Sarah Goss, after a lineout throw went over the heads of the jumping players, landing in Goss’ arms. She ran straight through and over the line, with the successful conversion the Black Ferns took the lead 7-0.
Ash Hewson put the Wallaroos on the board soon after, with a successful penalty attempt after the Black Ferns front row were penalised for angling in during the scrum, putting the Wallaroos within 4 points.
The Wallaroos showed much greater continuity in attack, holding the ball through multiple phases and making some ground through the forwards. They were tough in defence, stopping two scoring opportunities on the line, however they were unable to repel prop Toka Natua as she dived over the line for the Black ferns’ second try. Conversion unsuccessful, leaving the score at 12-3.
It wasn’t until the 35th minute that the Black ferns were able to cross the line again, despite having much of the ball. Some outstanding defence from the Wallaroos forced multiple errors from the more experienced New Zealanders. Morgan in particular was responsible for some outstanding efforts in halting the Black Ferns attack.
The score at half time was 17-3.
The second half started with a flurry from the Wallaroos, putting the Black Ferns under pressure in their own 22 almost immediately. The Wallaroos had most of the possession in the first 10 minutes of the half, showing better ball control than in the previous match. Despite holding the ball for 10 phases on at least 2 occasions, the Wallaroos were still unable to break through the Black Ferns defence.
The Black Ferns were able to contain the pressure from the Wallaroos, however penalties began creeping in and in the 53rd minute Black Ferns Captain, Fiao’o Fa’amausili, was sent to the bin for a ruck infringement after a number of previous penalties against the Black Ferns.
The Wallaroos were able to contain the Black Ferns until the 62nd minute, when Outside Centre Portia Woodman crossed after the ball went wide creating a 2 player overlap. Wallaroos players in mid field appealed for a call of obstruction, however it didn’t appear as though the defence was impeded by the player running through. After a successful conversion the score was 24-3.
With 10 minutes remaining in the match Black Ferns Full Back Selica Winiata made a lovely break, easily beating the defence to score the final try of the game. The conversion missed, leaving the score at 29-3. The Black Ferns had one last attacking opportunity after the siren as their forwards were driving at the line, but the Wallaroos defence held up, preventing the ball from being grounded.
The final score was 29-3.
Score and scorers
Tries: S. Goss, T. Natua, H. Hireme, P. Woodman, S. Winiata
Conversions: K. Cocksedge 2
Penalties: A. Hewson
Yellow: 2′ Cobie-Jane Morgan (Aus), 52′- Fiao’o Fa’amausili (NZ)