Black Ferns v Scotland Women | Match Report
Scotland Women’s first Rugby World Cup campaign in 12 years came to an end on Saturday 22 October at the Northland Events Centre, Whangārei, following an impassioned performance over the tournament top seeds, the Black Ferns.
The Black Ferns were quick to makes their presence known scoring their first try of the match inside the first two minutes of the game as full-back Renee Holmes finds a gap in Scotland’s defence on the left wing to dot the ball down in the corner. She was unable to convert.
Despite sustained pressure from Scotland to hold back the attack, another space opened on the left wing for the Black Ferns’ winger Ayesha Leti-I’iga to cross the whitewash. Holmes was unable to make the conversion.
A third try followed from Sarah Hirini who scored under the sticks after receiving the offload from her team-mate Joanah Ngan-Woo. Holmes made her first conversion of the match.
An unfortunate rift in Scotland’s defence allowed Liana Mikaele-Tu’u to claim the Ferns’ bonus point try and Holmes added the extras.
Whilst the hosts put on a dominating performance in the first half, there were positive moments for Scotland, including excellent reactions from Lana Skeldon, who worked effectively with the spillage from the line out to kick the ball deep into the Ferns’ 22 for Rhona Lloyd to get her hands on the ball.
Here, Scotland were awarded a penalty and Lisa Thomson looked to take Scotland closer to the try line. Despite strong carries into contact, continued pressure from the Ferns at the breakdown saw them make the turnover and carry play out of their 22.
Scotland were able to hold the Ferns away from the try line for nearly fifteen minutes, but the hosts continued to prove their physicality and Theresa Fitzpatrick juggled the ball down over the whitewash. Holmes slotted her conversion to extend their lead.
Two more tries were scored by the Ferns in the first half, both by Renee Wickliffe. Although her first try was reviewed by referee Aurelie Groizeleau for a forward pass, the score was awarded. Holmes converted both kicks.
Half time: Black Ferns 45 Scotland 0
With Scotland completing 131 tackles within the opening 40 minutes, their defensive efforts could not be rebuked, but it was time for them to get hands on ball and attack.
Galvanised at the break, Scotland came out with blocks with a fire in their belly, showing a clear intent in their attack as they began drawing penalties out of their opponents.
Lisa Thomson’s penalty kick took the team into the Ferns’ 22 and on for the line out where the ball was retained by Sarah Bonar before making its way to Thomson who took the action closer to the line. Dominant carries from forwards saw Scotland just a stretch from the line, but the ball was spilled and the Ferns gathered, sending the ball out of the danger zone, ending Scotland’s chance for some points.
Gathering the ball, Shona Campbell gave Scotland some hope of coming back as she darted her way through the Ferns’ defence to take play back into their 22, however a handling error from Scotland closed down this opportunity.
A line out for the Ferns set in motion the phases of play which would unlock the their next try. Despite the best efforts of Shona Campbell to shut it down Maiakawanakualani Roos scored under the sticks and Holmes once again converted.
After just shy of 15 minutes in the second half, Head Coach Bryan Eason began to make some changes to the team, starting with Katie Dougan who replaced Christine Belisle, followed by Mairi McDonald who came on for Caity Mattinson.
After another 10 minutes of back and forth defence and attack, some further changes were made to the line-up as Liz Musgrove came on for Rhona Lloyd, Louise McMillan joined the back row to replace Rachel McLachlan and Leah Bartlett joined the pack to replace Molly Wright.
With fresh legs on the pitch, Scotland looked to push forward and found themselves taking a line-out near the five meter line. Unfortunately a handling error led to the Black Ferns regaining possession and this next opportunity was drawn to a close.
Despite the Ferns coming out as the dominant side, continued penalties against them saw referee Aurelie Groizeleau send Tanya Kalounivale to the sin bin.
Three further changes were made to Scotland’s side with Meryl Smith joining the field to replace Helen Nelson, followed by Jodie Rettie who replaced skipper Rachel Malcolm, and finally Lyndsay O’Donnell came on for Sarah Bonar, who just this week picked up the RAF Sportswoman of the Year Award.
The Ferns looked to be on for another score from the scrum, finding gap in Scotland’s defence but a handling error just meters from the line allowed Scotland to regain possession and Meryl Smith sent the ball out of the danger zone.
The Ferns managed to turnover Scotland’s ball after the scrum and as they looked to put the pressure on Scotland for another try, the excellent observations and speed of Hannah Smith saw play intercepted and the Ferns’ plans dashed before the ball was taken into touch for their line out.
It was this line out which would next see New Zealand set up their attack for Renne Holmes to score her second try, and the hosts’ final try of the game.
Despite those glimmers of hope for Scotland, the Black Ferns dominant performance proved to be too strong for the Scots to overcome.
Full time: New Zealand 57 Scotland 0
15. Shona Campbell 14. Rhona Lloyd 13. Emma Orr 12. Lisa Thomson 11. Hannah Smith 10. Helen Nelson VICE-CAPTAIN 9. Caity Mattinson 1. Molly Wright 2. Lana Skeldon 3. Christine Belisle 4. Emma Wassell 5. Sarah Bonar 6. Rachel Malcolm CAPTAIN 7. Rachel McLachlan 8. Jade Konkel-Roberts
Replacements: 16. Jodie Rettie 17. Leah Bartlett 18. Katie Dougan 19. Lyndsay O’Donnell 20. Louise McMillan 21. Mairi McDonald 22. Meryl Smith 23. Liz Musgrove
Black Ferns: 15. Renee Holmes 14. Renee Wickliffe 13. Amy du Plessis 12. Theresa Fitzpatrick 11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga 10. Hazel Tubic 9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu CAPTAIN 1. Phillipa Love 2. Georgia Ponsonby 3. Amy Rule, 4. Joanah Ngan-Woo 5. Maiakawanakualani Roos 6. Alanah Bremner 7. Sarah Hirini 8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u
Replacements: 16. Natalie Delamare 17. Krystal Murray 18. Tanya Kalounivale, 19. Chelsea Bremner 20. Kendra Reynolds 21. Kendra Cocksedge 22. Sylvia Brunt 23. Ruahei Demant
Referee: Aurelie Groizeleau (France)
Assistant Referees: Clara Munarini (AR1), Kate Roache (AR2)
TMO: Chris Assmus