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By ARU Media Unit
The Wallaroos have won their opening match of the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup, defeating South Africa 26-3 in Marcoussis in Paris on Saturday morning AEST.
The Wallaroos’ first win of 2014 came off the back of some patient running Rugby as they ground out a tough win against their southern hemisphere opponents.
Wallaroos head coach Paul Verrell was satisfied with the win.
“It was great that we played a strong patient match today in order to get the win.
“After such a strong start South Africa worked their way back into the match so I was impressed with how we kept our focus and maintained our defensive structures.
“Our second half was not as strong as our first so we will have a look at where we can improve and look ahead to our next match against Wales on Tuesday.
Australian captain, Shannon Parry shared the sentiments of Verrell.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match against South Africa but I feel that we left some points out there on the paddock.
“We’ll take the win today and move on to focus on our match against Wales.”
The match started well for Australia when Sharni Williams crossed for Australia’s first try early in proceedings as the women in gold dominated possession and territory over South Africa.
Australia marched its way well into the South African half through some strong running from the Wallaroos forward pack and were able to constantly move over the advantage line.
Cobie-Jane Morgan and Sharni Williams combined well to create space for the Australian backs for Williams’ first try of the tournament in the fourth minute of the match.
Ill-discipline from South Africa at the breakdown earned the ire of the referee and allowed Wallaroos fullback, Ashleigh Hewson to kick two penalties to extend Australia’s lead to 13-0.
Despite Australia dominating the early proceedings South Africa continued to attempt to work their way into the first half with some daring runs.
Tui Ormsby, representing Australia in her fourth Women’s World Cup put on a sensational effort in defence to prevent South Africa from attacking out wide.
Ashleigh Hewson powered through two defenders for the Wallaroos’ second try in the 23rd minute of the match after Australia’s backs combined well to expose the South African defence extending Australia’s lead to 18-0.
South Africa were able to make their way into the Australian defensive zone but were only able to come away from the raid with a penalty through the boot of South African scrumhalf Tayla Kinsey.
Australia rallied quickly and converted another penalty through Ashleigh Hewson to take the Wallaroos to 21-3 where the score remained at the half time break.
The second half began at a frenetic pace as South Africa attempted to claw back the handy lead the Wallaroos had created.
However despite pressuring the Australian line South Africa were unable to cross for a try-the tough defence from the Wallaroos repelling South Africa in the early minutes of the second half.
The South Africans continued to build pressure on the Wallaroos as they controlled possession, however eventually the experience of the Wallaroos showed as they showed patience to repel South Africa and regain territory in their attacking zone.
The boot of Wallaroos fullback Ashleigh Hewson allowed Australia to play the match in South Africa’s half as Hewson frequently was able to find touch.
A late try to replacement winger Tricia Brown ensured that Australia won the match with the comfortable score line of 26-3.
The Wallaroos next match is on Tuesday 5 August at 11:00pm AEST, with the match to broadcast live on FOX SPORTS.