Wallaroos boost before Black Ferns Test

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    20 Oct 2016     Getty Images

The two countries haven't played since 2014 when New Zealand won the two-Test series 38-3 and 16-8 before the sides went on to the Women's World Cup. Saturday's Test will also be the first for Australia since the World Cup.


The Wallaroos warmed up for Saturday's Eden Park Test with the Black Ferns with a 21-19 win over Auckland on Tuesday.

It took a comeback effort from the Australians who were 11 points behind at one stage but they got home with seven minutes left.

Australia fielded 11 uncapped players in their side having only arrived the day before while Auckland did not field their six Black Ferns.

Coach Paul Verrell told "Speaking to some of the girls after the game, that was probably one of the toughest games they've played, just consistently a lot of pressure for them.

"I'm glad we got the win and they've got that little bit of experience and it's probably giving us a few headaches now leading into the side for Saturday," he said.

However, the side did suffer one blow when losing veteran Rebecca Clough. She re-injured a knee during the game and is out of the tour. She had suffered a knee injury at the Australian women's nationals in June but had hoped to get through the New Zealand tour.

Auckland had put the Australians under early pressure by scoring three first half tries and with more time and continuing to play to their intended structures the cohesion improve.

With Saturday in mind, Verrell said attention would be paid to shoring up their defence and set-piece play.

"We've trained really hard with our defensive structure, but we got caught short a couple of times, so that's a focus for us leading into Saturday," he said.

"The other thing is our timing in lineouts and scrums – when they worked, they worked really well," he said.

"We can do it, it's just a matter of believing in what we've done," he said.

The side's captain and first five-eighths Ash Hewson did not appear in the game but she said the Test match was important for the women's game which is being televised live in Australia.

"All the girls have got their heads right and know what they're up against, they are up against the best team in the world," she said.

"We do have to go in and give them that respect because they do deserve it, but I think footy's a fickle game. It could go either way. [If] the ball bounces your way, you can come away with a win.

"If they [the audience] can see how much dedication and commitment it takes to get to those successes, then it's going to benefit women's rugby," she said.