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BUILDCORP WALLAROOS TAKE IT TO NEW ZEALAND IN HARD FOUGHT LOSS
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ARU Media Unit
The Buildcorp Wallaroos have fallen to New Zealand in a significantly improved performance going down 29 to 3 in Auckland on Wednesday afternoon.
The Wallaroos looked nothing like the side that was humbled at Eden Park last Saturday with the team playing with aggression and with significantly improved structures in both attack and defence that asked questions of New Zealand.
Inspired performances by senior players Captain Ash Hewson, vice-captain Iliseva Batibasaga, Mollie Gray and Alisha Hewett was a highlight for Australia as the Wallaroos challenged New Zealand across the park.
Buildcorp Wallaroos Head Coach, Paul Verrell: "We put out a significantly improved performance against New Zealand today and our structures were better right across the park.
"I am proud of the way we improved across the two Tests and it is a credit to the character of this group.
"This series was an important one for our development. We had 13 Test debutants across the two Test matches and we are only going to grow stronger and build our depth as we continue our preparation for the Women's Rugby World Cup next year."
The match started in a disappointing fashion for Australia with Cobie-Jane Morgan sent to the sin bin in the second minute of the match. New Zealand capitalised on the Wallaroos down on troops and scored in the corner through Sarah Goss.
The Wallaroos countered and held up some time on the clock with a penalty just short of halfway with Wallaroos Captain, Ash Hewson calmly slotting the kick to narrow the gap to 7-3.
New Zealand extended their lead moments later as Cobie-Jane Morgan re-entered the field as Toko Natua scored in the corner to take the score to 12-3 in favour of the Black Ferns.
The much-improved Wallaroos side worked their way into the match as the Wallaroos placed pressure on the Black Ferns defence for consistent periods and turned down two penalty options to attack the line for a try.
It took the Black Ferns until the 35th minute to cross the Wallaroos try line with some key tackles from Cobie Jane-Morgan, Mollie Gray and Ash Hewson repelling the Black Ferns waves of attack for multiple phases.
The score was 17-3 at half time.
The Wallaroos shot out of the blocks in the second half immediately putting pressure on New Zealand, camping in their 22.
The Black Ferns, hammered with the pressure from Australia, let penalties slip into the game with the referee sending Captain Fio’o Fa’Amausli to the sin bin for New Zealand’s repeated infringements.
It took New Zealand until the 62nd minute to crack Australia’s defence again with New Zealand Sevens star, Portia Woodman crossing for a try in the corner, extending New Zealand’s lead to 24-3.
Fullback, Selica Winiata showed her speed with an impressive run that caught the tiring Wallaroos defence off guard to score in the corner and take the score to 29-3.
Despite a late attacking surge by New Zealand, the Black Ferns were unable to cross the Wallaroos line, leaving the final score at 29-3.
Despite losing the series two nil, the Wallaroos have capped 13 players and exposed them to International Rugby less than a year out from the Women’s Rugby World Cup to be held in Dublin and Belfast in Ireland next year.
How it happened:
4 mins: Sarah Goss try, Kenda Cocksedge con NZ 7-0 AUS
8 mins: Ash Hewson pen NZ 7-3 AUS
12 mins: Toko Natua try, NZ 12-3 AUS
35 mins: Honey Hireme try, NZ 17-3 AUS
62 mins: Portia Woodman try, Kendra Cocksedge con NZ 24-3 AUS
71 mins: Selica Winiata try, NZ 29-3 AUS
New Zealand 29 (Sarah Goss, Toko Natua, Honey Hireme, Portia Woodman, Selica Winiata tries; Kendra Cocksedge 2 cons) defeated Australia 3 (Ash Hewson pen)