Black Ferns top Pool A in style

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They made their best start of the tournament, laying on seven tries to be 45-0 at oranges. At that point, they had made 633 carry metres to 27, a remarkable statistic. A massive score looked to be in the offing, but a combination of stiffer Scotland defence and some disjointed Black Ferns’ play marred the second stanza, when they scored just twice.

This was the fourth straight Black Ferns’ victory against Scotland, and the latter has yet to register a try against the women in black.

Fullback Renee Holmes raced over after just 90 seconds, while comeback wing Ayesha Leti-I’iga, who looked good before being subbed, scored out wide off a Theresa Fitzpatrick last pass.

Flanker Sarah Hirini scored off a nice inside ball by Joanah Ngan-Woo, not long after a marvellous piece of athleticism from a kickoff, Hirini controlling the ball with the help of prop Amy Rule.

Then followed, in quick succession, tries to Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (for the bonus point) and Fitzpatrick, before the veteran wing Renee Wickliffe got in on the act, scoring a fine double, the first of which was a close TMO call on a forward pass, but the second was a beauty from a scrum move that featured four sweet passes.

Scotland, in a light purple strip, was not helping itself with some fluffed kickoffs, but more space needed to be created for Shona Campbell to cut some capers.

Lock Maia Roos scored at 52 minutes for the Black Ferns, but thereafter there appeared to be a lack of cohesion when the subs arrived en masse. A yellow card to replacement prop Tanya Kalounivale further exacerbated matters.

The final try was Holmes’ second, after a Sylvia Brunt break, and gave the No 15 a 22-point haul.

Blindside flanker Alana Bremner was impressive and her swivel and offload set up Fitzpatrick’s try, while her work-rate was consistently high.

Captain Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Fitzpatrick and Holmes were the pick of the backs, while Ngan-Woo and Mikaele-Tu’u were standouts in the forwards.

The Black Ferns will play their quarter-final in Whangarei next Saturday night, kickoff at 7.30pm. Their opponent is TBC, but the home side is likely to be top seed, so would play the eighth seed out of the pool stages.

Black Ferns 57 (Renee Wickliffe 2, Renee Holmes 2, Ayesha Leti-I’iga, Sarah Hirini, Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Maia Roos tries; Holmes 6 con) Scotland 0 HT: 45-0 Black Ferns


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