The home side took a long time to fully subdue Canada at the Trusts Arena in Waitākere but always had the initiative with some serious intent on attack and direct play in the forwards which yielded four tries and marked the Test debuts of centre Amy du Plessis and replacement midfielder Sylvia Brunt.
As the rain mercifully held off, Canada hacked away in the forward exchanges but seemed flat and often inaccurate on attack and had to hang on as the Black Ferns subs all offered good value.
The Black Ferns opened by swinging straight onto attack, first five Hazel Tubic mixing play up nicely on attack and prop Pip Love and the locking duo of Maia Roos and Joanah Ngan-Woo muscling up to their counterparts. Tafito Lafaele again built on her promise as a No 7.
Despite having set-piece ascendancy, the Black Ferns could not ram home their dominance, having just two Tubic penalty goals to show for it by halftime. There was the odd handling error, while prop Tanya Kalounivale, who was one of two Black Ferns (the other being Kaipo Olsen-Baker) to be yellow-carded, lost the ball over the line. Passing seemed to be a challenge in the windy conditions.
Left wing Ayesha Leti-I’iga, relishing playing rugby in front of her family, punched holes close to the ruck and in the wider channels and duly took away the player of the match award.
But the other wing, Ruby Tui, broke the game open six minutes into the second spell with a marvellous piece of individual skill, chipping and regathering to score the first of her two tries in the corner. Tui again ran hard and effected the odd turnover.
While the Black Ferns were coming second in the penalty count, they were showing more signs of fluidity, continuity, cohesion and innovation on attack, if not always the desired accuracy. Brunt was a ball of energy off the bench, both with and without the ball.
Roos scored a try off a lineout move set up by Amy Rule, and then stayed on the field after copping a knock to the knee as the Black Ferns were out of subs.
Another strong burst by Leti-I’iga led by a try to sub Chelsea Bremner, but the final flourish went to Tui, who completed her brace with a fine finish off a break down the left flank by du Plessis, who was battling cramp at the time.
In the final analysis, it was a good step forward for the Black Ferns in conditions more conducive to the style of rugby they are seeking to showcase. And it pushed their overall record against Canada to 16-0.
In the early clash of the double-header, the USA Eagles edged the Australian Wallaroos 16-14 in something of an upset.
Next Saturday is the third and final Pac Four match day, at Semenoff Stadium, Whangārei. The Australian Wallaroos will face Canada, before the Black Ferns lock horns with the USA Eagles.
Black Ferns 28 (Ruby Tui 2, Maiakawanakaulani Roos, Chelsea Bremner tries; Ruahei Demant con, Hazel Tubic 2 pen) Canada 0 HT: 6-0 Black Ferns