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lunes, 28 de noviembre de 2011

Black Ferns

Black Ferns lose first test to England

November 27, 2011 - 8:24am
Story:\ James Mortimer
The World Champion Black Ferns have fallen to England 10-0 at Twickenham overnight, with the World Cup runner’s up and Six Nations champions putting in a grim display that shut the visitors out of the game.

The positives for the Black Ferns is that they were always in touch with the scoreboard despite being outplayed for long periods, and with England dominating the statistics, the New Zealand women were able to put in a admirable defensive effort.

If it was not for iron willed determination to hold the English ladies out from their own try line, the Black Ferns may have been beaten by a more imposing margin.

However new Black Ferns’ coach Grant Hansen will want to address three key issues that defined the loss at the home of English rugby.

Territorially England played a clinical game, pinning the Black Ferns back in their own half for most of the test, never allowing the World Champions to build any momentum or apply pressure in the English 22.

Fitness and intensity at the ruck were ruled by England.

Typically, not too unlike their All Blacks counterparts, one of the Black Ferns key sources of power over history has been their ability to flex their muscles at the tackle area, but England turned the tables on their great rivals with a vicious display in the loose.

The reining Six Nations women’s champions also were full of running, having played ten test matches in 2011, while the Black Ferns looked a bit short of a gallop, with it being nearly three months since their NPC competition finished.

England lost in the World Cup final 13-10 to the Black Ferns 14 months ago, and to put into perspective the dominance the four-time World Champions have had in recent decades – the ten-point loss at Twickenham was just the fourth time a team (England three times, United States once) had defeated New Zealand in 59 tests since 1990.

While the match began with England pinning the Black Ferns back, the visitors were not without their own weapons, with their scrum causing the English problems throughout the opening half.

English first five-eighth Katy McLean missed the first chance of points after 15 minutes, while the maiden scoring opportunity of the test came for England when lock Rowena Burnfield, hooker Vicky Fleetwood and flanker’s Margaret Alphonsi and Rebecca Essex all combined, but the Black Ferns frantic goal line tackling held fast.

Saracens openside flanker Alphonsi scored the only try of the match on the half hour mark, a powerful score that came from some good lead up play from an English lineout.

It was 7-0 at halftime, and England’s ladies were on the back foot in the second stanza as the Black Ferns came out hard at the hosts.

However England, who Hansen remarked after the match “were well drilled and played very well,” were able to rely on their patterns to stay on top of the World Champions.

A McLean drop goal on the 58th minute gave England a 10-0 lead, while Alphonsi almost scored her second off a clever chip kick, and Worcester flyer Katherine Merchant came close but more desperate Black Ferns cover defence denied her after a brilliant break through the initial New Zealand line.

England coach Gary Street said the result came after a lot of hard work since losing the World Cup Final to the Black Ferns.

“14 months of sheer hard work and preparation went into today’s performance,” he said.

“We were not satisfied with our performance in the world cup final and we had a point to prove as much to ourselves as anyone. We played some good expansive rugby and our big players stood up and put the work in all over the park. It feels great that all our hard work has paid off today.

“All that said this is the start of a three test series against the world champions. Although I think we dominated most of the game and a lot of the areas, we have to keep this performance and momentum going. New Zealand are the world champions after all and there is no doubt that they will want to bounce back bigger and stronger on Tuesday at Esher, but we will be ready for that.”

England and New Zealand are back in action on Tuesday for the second of the three match series at Esher RFC, before the final match on Saturday December 3 at the same ground.

England: 15 Danielle Waterman (Worcester), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (C), 9 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 6 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens) (VC), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Amy Turner (Richmond), 17 Laura Keates (Worcester), 18 Marlie Packer (Bristol), 19 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), 20 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), 21 Rachael Burford (Richmond), 22 Kay Wilson (Richmond)

New Zealand: 15 Victoria Grant (C), 14 Shakira Baker, 13 Kelly Brazier, 12 Amiria Rule, 11 Renee Wickliffe, 10 Rebecca Mahoney, 9 Emma Jensen, 1 Kathleen Wilton, 2 Fiao’o Faamausili, 3 Mel Bosman, 4 Vita Robinson, 5 Eloise Blackwell, 6 Amanda Murphy, 7 Justine Lavea, 8 Casey Robertson. Replecaments: 16 Karina Penetito, 17 Doris Taufateau, 18 Rawina Everitt, 19 Aroha Savage, 20 Kendra Cocksedge, 21 Teresa Te Tamaki, 22 Hazel Tubic

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