Wallaroos turn focus to second Test

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallaroos have turned their focus to Wednesday’s second Test against the Black Ferns, after a disappointing opener at Eden Park.

In their first Test since 2014, the Australians suffered a 67-3 defeat at the hands of the Kiwis, starved of possession in the clash.

A late flurry of tries to the Black Ferns stretched the margin to make it New Zealand’s biggest win over Australia and Wallaroos coach Paul Verrell said that was inevitable after the side was sapped of energy.

“I think when you don’t have any ball and you’re defending all the time, it’s eventually going to blow out,” he said.

“I thought we hung in in that second half after we probably were a bit shell shocked in the first.”

Set piece will be a major focus for the Wallaroos. Photo: Getty ImagesThe loss of lineout thrower Louise Burrows, after two yellow cards, was a blow for the Wallaroos as well, with their set piece suffering as a result, Verrell said.

“We put some other girls on, probably a little bit of swirly wind out there, and accuracy probably wasn’t that great so it put our lineout under pressure and once again left us chasing our tails,” he said.

Scrums and lineouts will be the priority for Australia ahead of Wednesday’s second and final Test, after they battled across the park.

“We’ll go back and look at the video and just talk to the girls about what we’re trying to achieve, finish with some positives, get some set piece right, lineout right and especially with our attacking shape, I think we’ll be competitive [on Wednesday],” he said.

Selica Winiata had four tries for the Black Ferns. Photo: Getty ImagesFullback Sarah Riordan stood up on debut and said while they were proud of their defence in parts, the side was looking to create more chances on Wednesday.

“I was really surprised at how well we defended and we did defend a lot,” she said.

“When we did have the ball in hand, we did look dangerous and we felt dangerous, it’s just maintaining that ball.

“But definitely happy with the way we controlled our defence there but next week, hopefully we can get a bit more ball.”

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili celebrates a try. Photo: Getty ImagesRiordan, a usual centre, said she was finding her feet at fullback but, as was the theme of the afternoon, felt there was more work to do.

“I think I did okay, I would’ve liked to have done a lot better, I guess everyone would,” she said.

“Being at fullback, it’s not really my position but I’m happy with what I did and I look forward to coming back bigger and better next week.”

The Black Ferns were dominant in Auckland. Photo: Getty ImagesBlack Ferns captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili said the home side hadn’t targeted any particular margin, but always had faith they’d be able to get the win.

“We knew that if we stick to our game plan we would come out on top,” she said.

“There was no score line or anything. We knew that the Wallaroos would always come out firing, considering what they did against Auckland [coming from behind to win],” she said.

“Everyone that plays the Black Ferns always lifts their game and we can’t take it for granted.”

The Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns on Wednesday at North Harbour.