Black Ferns retain Laurie O'Reilly Trophy beating Australia   25 Aug 2018

LYNN MCCONNELL

25 AUG 2018 

Securing their forward dominance, the Black Ferns were able to unleash their backline skills with effect to complete successive wins over Australia when securing the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy 45–17 at Eden Park.

Up 19-10 at the turnaround, the Black Ferns ran in four unanswered tries before big Australian replacement prop Hana Ngaha scored in the 71st minute. By that time the Black Ferns had put the issue well beyond doubt.

Evidence of the confidence the Black Ferns enjoyed was evident in the 50th minute try scored by halfback Kendra Cocksedge off a scrum just out from Australia's line. Cocksedge ran wide from the scrum to take a pass from No.8 Aroha Savage.

Cocksedge then fed second five-eighths Theresa Fitzpatrick, who had been on the end of a well-weighted pass from the halfback six minutes earlier to open the second half scoring, to double around Fitzpatrick and into wide open real estate to score.

In the 57th minutes wing Renee Wickliffe showed her acrobatic abilities to touch down in the corner and she was backed by fullback Selica Winiata who finally got the room to put her speed to effect after replacement midfield back Chelsea Alley made ground ground with a strong surge.

The Black Ferns' forward power was the basis of their first half lead with prop Aldora Itunu crossing after picking up the ball and driving over from the base of a goalline ruck three minutes into the game.

Eight minutes later her propping partner Pip Love, one of the players of the game in last week's first Test, scored in a similar type situation.

Australia responded when first five-eighths Trileen Pomare stepped back inside from a ruck close to the line to score in the 15th minute.

But the unrelenting home pack produced the goods again when lock Eloise Blackwell was able to put her power to use to get over the line to take New Zealand's lead to 19-5.

However, three minutes from the halftime break, Itunu was forced to leave the field with a leg injury and in the follow-up play it was Australia's hooker and captain Liz Patu who managed to ground the ball over the line and convince the TMO that she had scored.

It was a tough night for the Australians who spent much of the evening attempting to halt the Black Ferns' tide with the defensive toll showing out in the second half.

For the New Zealanders it was the end of the first stage of their international season with November Tests ahead against the United States (Chicago) and two games against France.

Scorers: New Zealand 45 (Aldora Itunu, Pip Love, Eloise Blackwell, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Kendra Cocksedge, Renee Wickliffe, Selica Winiata tries; Cocksedge 5 con) Australia 17 (Trilleen Pomare, Liz Patu, Hana Ngaha tries; Fenella Hake con). HT: 19-10

NZ Rugby

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