Australia A trounced by Black Ferns Development side at Oceania Championships

Womens International
by Emma Greenwood

The Wallaroos have been given a stark reminder of the work to be done if they are to bridge the gap to New Zealand after Australia A lost their Oceania Championship match to a Black Ferns Development side 50-0.

The Kiwis scored eight unanswered tries in Lautoka and while Australia had their chances, they were unable to turn a mountain of possession in the final minutes into points.

Aussie captain Michaela Leonard was disappointed with the result.

"Obviously we don't want to come out here and end up with a result like that," she said.

"The girls came out and played hard, we just didn't stick to our structures and we made a few crucial errors and didn't react to them.

"That's something moving into next game that we're going to sharpen up, hopefully again Samoa and have a lot less errors there.

"But credit to New Zealand Development, they played well, they played skillfully and we were always expecting a tough game."

Black Ferns captain Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu said she was pleased with her team.

"I'm really proud of the girls, the execution was really good and I'm just super-proud of the effort," she said.

New Zealand is yet to concede a point in the competition after beating Fiji 53-0 in their tournament-opener on Monday.

The Kiwis dominated the opening half against Australia A, racing to a 26-0 lead at the break after scoring four unanswered tries.

Just as the Black Ferns forwards dominated the Wallaroos in their two Tests earlier this season, their development pack bullied the Australians in the opening exchanges, with hooker Luka Connor scoring two tries from the rolling maul.Tries to fullback Olivia McGoverne and debutant backrower Ilisapeta Molia added to Australia A's woes.

The Aussies had a few chances late to attack, moving the ball out wide but could not capitalise on their chances.

With the wind at their backs in the second term, the Australians were hoping to reverse their fortunes but things started poorly, with winger Langi Veainu dashing over just minutes after the restart.

Australia continued to have difficulty matching the strength of the Ferns in the forwards, with tighthead prop Leilani Perese barging over from a pick and go to incready the Kiwis' lead to 36-0.

The depth of the Black Ferns program was on show in the second half, with the New Zealanders losing none of their dominance despite making several changes in the final quarter. The Ferns added another two tries before the fulltime whistle, with Australia A unable to find their way to the tryline despite dominating possession for the final 10 minutes.

While the match highlighted some deficiencies in Australia's scrum and lineout - things they will need to work on ahead of Tests against the Kiwis, Canada, the US, England and France next year - there were glimpses of promise from the next generation of talented players.

 

Lock Sera Naiqama was among Australia's best, while Brumbies teen forward Grace Kemp showed why she is regarded as a rising star when she came on late in the match.

Dual code playmaker Zahara Temara also had some good touches in her return to the rugby ranks.

Australia play Samoa on Tuesday in their final match of the championship after their tournament-opener against Tonga was cancelled due to a suspected measles outbreak.

RESULT

Black Ferns Development 50

Tries: Connor 2, McGoverne, Molia, Veainu, Perese, Lolohea, Moata'ane

Cons: Tubic 3, Rasch 2

Yellow card: Rasch 80'

Australia A 0