LEADING BY EXAMPLE: In her second game as captain of the Wallaroos, Ashleigh Hewson and her team showed plenty of fight. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
VINCENTIA’S Ashleigh Hewson and herAustralian Wallaroos lost to New Zealand in a significantly improved performance on Wedneday, going down 29-3 in Auckland.
The Wallaroos looked nothing like the side that was humbled at Eden Park last Saturday, with the team playing with aggression and with significantly improved structures in both attack and defence that asked questions of New Zealand.
Inspired performances by senior players captainHewson, vice-captain Iliseva Batibasaga, Mollie Gray and Alisha Hewett was a highlight for Australia as the Wallaroos challenged New Zealand across the park.
“We put out a significantly improved performance against New Zealand today and our structures were better right across the park,”Wallaroos’ head coach Paul Verrell said.
“I am proud of the way we improved across the two tests and it is a credit to the character of this group.
“This series was an important one for our development.
“We had 13 test debutants across the two test matches and we are only going to grow stronger and build our depth as we continue our preparation for the Women’s Rugby World Cup next year.”
The match started in a disappointing fashion for Australia with Cobie-Jane Morgan sent to the sin-bin in the second minute of the match.
New Zealand capitalised on the Wallaroos down on troops and scored in the corner through Sarah Goss.
The Wallaroos countered and held up some time on the clock with a penalty just short of halfway, as captain Hewson calmly slotted the kick to narrow the gap to 7-3.
New Zealand extended their lead moments later, asMorgan re-entered the field when Toko Natua scored in the corner to take the score to 12-3 in favour of the Black Ferns.
The much-improved Wallaroos side worked their way into the match as the Wallaroos placed pressure on the Black Ferns defence for consistent periods and turned down two penalty options to attack the line for a try.
It took the Black Ferns until the 35thminute to cross the Wallaroos try line, askey tackles from Morgan,Gray andHewson repelled the Black Ferns waves of attack for multiple phases.
The score was 17-3 at half-time.
The Wallaroos shot out of the blocks in the second half, immediately putting pressure on New Zealand.
The Black Ferns, hammered with the pressure from Australia, let penalties slip into the game with the referee sending captain Fio’o Fa’Amausli to the sin-bin for New Zealand’s repeated infringements.
It took New Zealand until the 62nd minute to crack Australia’s defence again as New Zealand sevens star, Portia Woodman crossed for a try in the corner, extending New Zealand’s lead to 24-3.
Fullback, Selica Winiata showed her speed with an impressive run that caught the tiring Wallaroos defence off guard to score in the corner and take the score to 29-3, which is how the match ended.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.