Evans happy with Black Ferns first match

NZR     03 Jun 2014     NZR

New Zealand were under attack early thanks to a positive start from Australia's enthusiastic forward pack. After conceding first points, the hosts held on for a 11-3 lead at half-time.

However, a 54th minute try to Rawinia Everitt set the tone for a frantic finish to the match for the hosts, eventually running out 38-3 winners to retain the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy.

The result was a contest for most of the match, but two yellow cards put paid to Australia's chances.

Evans described the opening half as 'frustrating' but paid due credit to Australia's intensity in the forwards.

“I thought they gave us a bit of a bath in the first half at the breakdown, but we got ourselves together, got some go forward and I thought we played pretty well at times,” said Evans.

The Head Coach added that while they were doing some things well in the first half, the vast improvement in the second half allowed the side's star-studded backline to express itself.

“I think the leaders stood up.”

While preparation was always a difficult factor for either side, both teams had under a week to prepare for the opening test of the International Women's Rugby Series, Black Ferns captain Amiria Rule said her side was able to click into gear in the second half.

“It was always gong to be hard preparing three days out from a test match, but we came good in the second half. We got our systems and our shape together and it ended well,” said Rule.

The captain was one of four outside backs to score for New Zealand and she made no secret of the side's dynamic athletes that had transitioned well from the Sevens arena.

Meanwhile, Australia coach Paul Verell was in a buoyant mood following the side's 35-point defeat.

The match was the Wallaroos' first since the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup, where they finished third. The side featured 14 debutants and Verell was quick to illustrate the value of blooding all of those players in the first match of the series.

“There's nothing better than having that game experience. Now those girls realise what's required. They know that they can compete against the best girls in the world,” said Verell.

Nerves quickly evaporated and instead his side's forward pack was full of vigour and enterprise, something that showed when his side were trailing by just eight points at half-time.

“I think that at half-time we showed that we could be competitive. A couple of stupid mistakes in the second half probably opened the game up for the New Zealand team and losing two girls to the sin bin didn't help us either.”

Verell was happy with how his forwards were operating, but said there was a need for his backline to get more possession heading into the side's game against Canada in Tauranga on Friday.