allblacks.com 14.Jul.2013Getty Images
It was the ideal way for the Black Ferns to mark the 1000th international women's rugby Test match.
Although evenly matched in the first half, the Black Ferns soaked up the home advantage – as well as a few stinging words from Coach Brian Evans during the break – to dominate England in the second half.
England dominated at set piece time with captain Sarah Hunter leading from the back of the scrum, and althought first five-eighth Katy McLean orchestrated the English backs well, but the English struggled to respond to a blistering second half attack from the Black Ferns.
A delighted Evans said the first-up win was a great confidence booster as the team now prepares for Hamilton.
“I thought we were pretty good in the first half for a long good period and then we just fell right off the English. They came back strong, they put a lot of pressure on us at line out time, a lot of pressure physically, they were very good at the breakdown and so on, so we kind of lost our way towards half time. But we came back well in the second half,” he said.
Despite a crucial knock on that got England back into the match, New Zealand No.8 Casey Robertson had an outstanding match and looked dangerous whenever she carried the ball from the back of the scrum.
“I was a bit disappointed with the first half obviously I made a couple of mistakes that lead to their first try, but overall I think the team pulled together well in the second half, and we showed them that we could come back from the past two Series and hopefully we can hopefully finish the rest of this Series the way we want.
Robertson said the team had been focussed on ending the win-less streak.
“I think the frustration was starting to show towards the end of the week, we were wanting to get out there and prove a point, that we were back where we want to be and it’s good to get out there.”
Black Ferns debutant Portia Woodman dotted down 22 minutes into the first half after being set up by first-five-eighth Kelly Brazier.
Brazier proved a crucial general in the game, woodman was dangerous proving her wares with some strong tackles as the last defender.
Portia Woodman: “It was an awesome experience, a bit different from sevens, I’m not used to so many people on the field and that much contact but I loved it and can’t wait for the next one.”
New Zealand's next match against England takes place at Waikato Stadium on Tuesday before a showdown on Saturday at Pukekohe's ECOLight Stadium.
Read the match report here.
Rights-free Images (click on the links to view each image):
1 England defenders close in on ball carrier Casey Robertson
2 Casey Robertson was aggressive at No. 8
3 Casey Robertson
4 Black Ferns centre Claire Richardson
5 Claire Richardson
6 Second-five-eighth Amiria Rule stands strong in the tackle
7 Black Ferns debutant Portia Woodman
8 England defenders move in Portia Woodman
9 Portia Woodman eyes up the try line
10 Amiria Rule on the move
11 Vice captain Victoria Grant
12 Skipper Fia’oo Fa’amausili and the bench in the last few minutes
13 Renee Wickliffe
14 Kelly Brazier
15 Fans cheer on the Black Ferns
New Zealand 29 (Portia Woodman, Amiria Rule, Justine Lavea tries; Kelly Brazier con, 3 pen) England 10 (Marlie Packer try; Katy McLean con, pen) HT: 8-7
Black Ferns Captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili talks about the first Test v England. 1393 views