The defending world champion Black Ferns outclassed Australia 32-5 in a high quality pool match, making a tough ask of Australia to make the semis of the Women’s World Cup.
The Black Ferns played smart footy to pin Australia in their own quarter and capitalised with three tries in the first 23 minutes.
New Zealand won good field position with intelligent kicking and built their dominance over Australia with fearsome defence. Constant pressure on Australia’s flyhalf, Tobie McGann, quashed Australia’s attacking threat, and the Black Ferns took the opportunity presented by an Australian mistake to score their first try.
From that point, New Zealand never looked like losing. When in their own half, they moved the ball quickly and kicked to the opposite corner, which isolated and pressurised the Austalian outside backs. This pressure resulted in a try, but also the sinbinning of winger Cobie Morgan.
Enthusiastic runners and good continuity gave New Zealand their bonus point try at 32 minutes.
Australia steadied the ship in the late phases of the first half when Morgan returned, and made some capital from a New Zealand sinbinning. Halfback Cheryl Soon played skilfully and did her best to get Australia on the front foot while some joy came with a try to prop Lindsay Morgan.
But New Zealand remained both composed and scintillating in attack, taking direction from the impressive halves and running lovely lines.
Australian coach John Manenti will be disappointed that lock Kate Porter was also sinbinned, making it five yellow cards for the squad in two matches. He will, however, be pleased that the girls continued to fight hard throughout, managing to get some possession and string some good quality phases together.
Australia now require a massive bonus point win over South Africa on 28 August to make it through, and also need favourable results in the other two pools to take the best pool runner-up finals position.
Foxsports 2 will show the South Africa match at 7am, 29 August. The match will be streamed live on rwcwomens.com, and you can catch match replays from the same site.