Black Ferns storm into the final four

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Despite a slowish start due to Wales’ rush, borderline offside, defence, which slowed down their ball, the Black Ferns were irrepressible at times and ran in nine tries.

But what will be more pleasing for the team and coaches was that the scrum and general tight five issues from the corresponding fixture a fortnight ago were remedied. The forwards got several big shunts going and pressured Wales’ ball.

This was the Black Ferns’ 10th consecutive win this year and the other key milestone was that Portia Woodman, crossing for a brace, overtook England’s Sue Day as the highest tryscorer in women’s RWC history.

Co-captain Kennedy Simon made her comeback off the bench and powered through 30 minutes of work in her usual abrasive style.

The start from both teams was scrappy, but Woodman ran in the first try on 12 minutes, her fullback Ruby Tui delivering the last pass after a long ball by player of the match, second five Theresa Fitzpatrick.

There was a degree of frustration from the Black Ferns, who took some time to get their game going and were sloppy at the kickoffs, but there was always a feeling that if they got ball into the hands of their deadly back three, then Wales would be stressed and stretched.

Sarah Hirini and Amy Rule, who were both outstanding, scored tries in the first stanza, while Tui scored after a kick-pass by No 10 Ruahei Demant.

Wales hung on but had missed 20 tackles by halftime and 50 by the final whistle, not helped by copping two yellow cards, to centre Carys Williams and replacement Lleucu George.

The Black Ferns’ bench offered full value, in particular from prop Santo Taumata, two-try hooker Luka Connor and Simon. They augmented the physicality which the forwards brought throughout the contest.

Demant, the top offloader at this tournament, scored the last try which was a prime example of the Black Ferns’ continuity.

Next Saturday night at 7.30pm from Eden Park, the Black Ferns will face Les Bleues of France after they dispatched Italy 39-3 in the first semifinal.

Black Ferns 55 (Portia Woodman 2, Luka Connor 2, Ruby Tui, Sarah Hirini, Amy Rule, Alana Bremner, Ruahei Demant tries; Demant 5 con) Wales 3 (Keira Bevan pen) HT: 26-3 Black Ferns


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