Black Ferns overpower Australia in Pacific Four finale

25 May 2024
Black Ferns

The Black Ferns have finished the 2024 Pacific Four tournament on a high and wrapped up the Laurie O’Reilly Cup with a 67-19 win over the Wallaroos at North Harbour Stadium.

Both teams entered the match with plenty of motivation to come out on top. The Black Ferns were out for redemption following a shock first ever loss to Canada last week, while Australia needed a win to qualify for WXV1 and break a 25-match losing streak against the Black Ferns.

Both teams traded early tries to have the score locked at 7-7 after a competitive opening 10 minutes.

From there the Black Ferns took complete control in a near flawless opening half.

Sylvia Brunt showed great strength and footwork to break through the Australian defence for the Black Ferns second try before Mererangi Paul grabbed a quick double to extend the Black Ferns lead to 26-7.

The Wallaroos were eager to play and looked to run the ball on the limited opportunities they had.

Katelyn Vaha’akolo was the standout star of Super Rugby Aupiki and showed why with an incredible solo try in the 34th minute. The speedster showed great skill to chip, regather and beat the last Wallaroos defender to bring the passionate home crowd to its feet.

Up 45-7 at the halftime break, the Black Ferns wasted no time bringing up 50 points in the second half when prop Chryss Viliko rumbled over for her first Test try. Soon after, Paul scored another try to secure her second hat trick of the tournament after scoring one in the first game against USA.

The final 30 minutes descended into a scrappy affair as the Black Ferns cleared their bench and the Wallaroos continued to fight hard.

Tries to impressive pivot Arabella McKenzie and wing Maya Stewart put some respectability on the scoreboard for the Wallaroos, while co-captain Kennedy Simon grabbed a late double to extend the Black Ferns winning score to 67-19.

The win means the Black Ferns finish the 2024 Pacific Four tournament in second place behind Canada, with USA in third place and Australia fourth.

Black Ferns 67 (Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Sylvia Brunt, Mererangi Paul 3, Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, Georgia Ponsonby, Katelyn Vaha’akolo, Chryss Viliko, Kennedy Simon 2 tries, Renee Holmes 6 con) Australia 19 (Maya Stewart try, Arabella McKenzie 2 tries, 2 con)

HT: 45-7

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