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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Australia have survived a tough opening 20 minutes where they were defending for almost the whole time, to run out with a convincing 20 point victory over the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns in tonight's women's international at WIN Stadium.
The Kiwi Ferns started the game in the best possible way, thanks largely to the Jillaroos giving away 3 penalties and being forced to make 2 dropouts in the opening 10 minutes. Australia only had 1 set in that time, but their defence was immaculate, denying New Zealand from scoring a single point.
The scoring began in the 20th minute by Australia after a barnstorming run by Millie Boyle, which saw her take the ball deep into New Zealand's half. On the next tackle, Ali Brigginshaw received an offload, changed direction and then linked with Tallisha Harden, who crashed over for a strong try on the right side. Shakiah Tungai was unable to convert.
Just 4 minutes later, the Jillaroos were in again, thanks once more to Brigginshaw changing direction. This time she stepped off her left foot and grubbered back to the right side, then followed through, regathered and then was kicked in the arm as she tried to score, which forced the ball loose. The bunker awarded a penalty try. Tungai converted.
The points kept coming for the Jillaroos in the 31st minute, when Kirra Dibb kicked on the first tackle off the back of a scrum on halfway. Jess Sergis chased the kick and the ball bounced horribly for the Ferns fullback and perfectly for Sergis, who regathered and ran away to score under the posts untouched. Tungai again converted.
The Ferns finally got on the scoreboard with 5 minutes remaining in the first half via a strong crash-ball run that ended with Maitua Feterika scoring a powerful try. Apii Nicholls failed to convert.
The Jillaroos rounded out the half with a penalty goal to Tungai.
The Ferns started the second half exactly how they needed to, with a try just 4 minutes after the resumption of play when Honey Hireme barged through two defenders close to the line to force her way over for a strong try. Nicholls again failed to convert from the difficult angle.
In the 68th minute Dibb grubbered on the 3rd tackle and Kezie Apps followed through to ground the rolling ball for a try to the right of the posts. Tungai failed to convert.
With just 5 minutes remaining in the game, Australia put the match beyond doubt, when they put in another kick on the first tackle off the back of a scrum, this time by Brigginshaw. Tungai chased through, toed it ahead, regathered and scored a brilliant try. Tungai then converted her own try.
Australian Jillaroos 28 - New Zealand Kiwi Ferns 8
Venue: WIN Stadium
Halftime Score: Australian Jillaroos 18 New Zealand Kiwi Ferns 4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jessica Sergis
2 points - Millie Boyle
1 points - Hannah Southwell
AUSTRALIAN JILLAROOS (28)
Tries: Tallisha Harden, Shakiah Tungai, Ali Brigginshaw, Jessica Sergis, Kezie Apps
Conversions: Shakiah Tungai (3/5)
Penalty Goals: Shakiah Tungai (1/1)
NEW ZEALAND KIWI FERNS (8)
Tries: Maitua Feterika, Honey Hireme
Conversions: Apii Nicholls (0/2)