Before the 23-10 defeat, the Black Furns threatened the Black Fern in the first half – Australia’s 20th consecutive defeat to New Zealand in the women’s Test rugby.
The Aussies led 10-5 at halftime in the Turanga domain on Monday, the first time they led the influential Kiwis at halftime.
Experienced prop Liz Patu gave strength to the game’s inaugural effort, and even the most capped player in Wallaross history was pushing the new-look Black Fern back quickly during the scrum.
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Patu Wallaroos gives the perfect start
Legendary coach Wayne Smith – in his first game in charge of the Black Furnace – went to his bench early and New Zealand front-line substitutes overturned the scrum script in the second half.
Blindside Flanker Alana Bremner leveled the score after providing some quick hand support to Kaipo Olsen-Baker on the left edge.
Olsen-Baker scored a goal himself following a strong hurdle in a great Test debut match from Hurricanes No. 8.
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The Australian cause was aided by controversial official calls on both sides of halftime.
Winger Ayesha Letty-Iga scored in New Zealand’s first attempt on a high tackle from Mahalia Murphy which was strangely out of penalty.
Debutant prop Tania Colonival then moved on to Black Fern but Eagle-Eyed TMO Chris Osmas intervened and stopped an attempt to “double-latching” a carry.
Commenting on Stan Sport’s coverage, Scott Stevenson said, “It’s an incredible call from a TMO for a man who doesn’t see a high tackle.”
It was an encouraging response from the Vallards after their shock loss to Japan on the Gold Coast despite the defeat.
The formation of what Stevenson described as a “significant” boomerang response, and the formation of Kiwi Hawker, indicated that the Aussies were determined not to back down.
They will continue their Pacific Four series campaign against the United States in Auckland on Sunday.
“We were stuck in our game plan for 60 minutes before the fatigue subsided,” said Shane Parry, captain of the Walrus.
“It simply came to our notice then.
In the opening game of the tournament on Monday, Canada continued their recent dominance over the United States with a comfortable 36-5 victory.
Four countries are heading towards the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October-November.
Black Furnace will meet Canada on Sunday.
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