Second half surge sign of things to come for Wallaroos

by Sam Phillips

A second half surge from the Wallaroos gives coach Paul Verrell confidence his team can match it with the world's best.

After Verrell's side was blown away by a rampant Black Ferns outfit in the first 40, the two teams scored a pair of tries each in the second half to give the visitors a small win in the second term, as they fell 44-17.

The Wallaroos controlled possession for the majority of the second term and were aided by an improving set piece, along with an enormous performance from outstanding rookie Victoria Latu.

"That's the most positive thing for me and for the coaching staff," Verrell said.

"They knuckled down, fought their way back into the game and showed that they can actually be a force at this level."Cheyenne Campbell scored one of the Wallaroos' two second half tries. Photo: ARU Media/Brendan HertelThe Australians weren't able to break the duck against New Zealand but they were the first Wallaroos team to score three tries against the Kiwis, a show of the kind of rugby this team is capable of.

"I think they will just keep growing," Verrell said.

"They've got a belief in them now that they can compete, score tries and now we just have to tidy up our defence and stay in the game a lot longer."

But perhaps the most pleasing aspect of today's performance was the young guns stepping up to the mark.

Fenella Hake was a standout at flyhalf, Kayla Sauvao continues to impress at inside centre with her gain line busting runs and Latu has been one of the stars of the tournament.The Black Ferns were too strong for the Wallaroos today. Photo: ARU Media/Brendan Hertel"The more exposure they get at this level, they're only going to get better," Verrell said.

"Playing Test matches is what we need to continue to grow as a group and as a team and we are looking forward now to moving onto Canada and then the World Cup campaign.

"I think we need to continue to work on our defence and our set piece, we are getting better but we have pinpointed some things we need to work on and take those into that game against another tough opponent."

Cobie-Jane Morgan scored an outrageously athletic try in the first half and she also took solace in the second half performance.

"We had to rip in and fight for possession, not give easy ball away and stick together as a bunch," she said.

"I thought we tried our best in the first half but our second half was a lot better and that's because we were determined to fight back."