Live updates: Rugby World Cup build-up - Black Ferns v Japan at Auckland's Eden Park

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NZ 95 Japan 12

NZ - Woodman 7, Cocksedge 2, Connor, Holmes, du Plessis, Fluhler, Tui & Hirini tries; Cocksedge 5 conversions, Holmes 4 conversions, Marino-Tauhinu conversion

Japan - Sato & Sadaka try; Hiriyama conversion


40th minute - Japan secure the ball from their kickoff and charge into the NZ 22. They win a penalty and surge forward, but they spill a pass as the siren sounds and escape the century.

Great performance from the NZ women... and especially Woodman.

38th minute - TRY to Woodman

Ferns control the kickoff and McMenamin puts du Plessis into a gap. Tui slices towards the tryline, but is brought down short and finds Woodman for her seventh try.

A review might have found Tui's foot in touch, but Holmes is on target from the sideline again, NZ 95-12

36th minute - TRY to Tui

Japan kick long and the Ferns counterattack, with Fluhler stepping her marker and finding Tui running a support line to score.

35th minute - Ferns forward rumble into the Japan 22, but Japan over the ruck and win a penalty.

34th minute - Another big scrum from the Ferns and they win one against the feed...

33rd minute - Quick hands by the Ferns, but Tui throws a no-look pass over her shoulder that travels forward.

32nd minute - Scrum collapses, but Mikaele-Tu'u runs off the back and finds du Plessis carving up centrefield.

31st minute - Ponsonby overthrows the lineout and it looked a little crooked, but Japan knock on at the back, so Ferns have a scrum feed.

30th minute - Japan kick to the corner and Ferns will have a defensive lineout. Roos wins the ball and the forwards win a relieving penalty at the beakdown.

29th minute - Japan contest their kickoff and win the ball back.

27th minute - TRY to Fluhler

Ferns win a free kick at the scrum and Tubic puts a crosskick towards Woodman, who can't free the ball to score. Ferns pile into the maul and Fluhler pounces on the loose ball to score.

Holmes leaves her sideline conversion right, NZ 81-12

26th minute - Big scrum from the Ferns shunts Japan back about 10 metres and wins a scrum feed only a few metres from the tryline. 

25th minute - Messy ball at the lineout, but Ferns have it in hand. They can't release it from the maul and Japan have a defensive scrum feed. 

24th minute - Marino-Tauhinu ventures into the 22, but she can't release the ball in the ruck and is penalised. Japan clear to the 22.

23rd minute - Ngan-Woo secures the kickoff and the Ferns forwards rumble over halfway.

21st minute - TRY to du Plessis

Japan win the lineout and kick upfield. McMenamin charges over the Japan 22, before Fluhler and du Plessis combine down the right to score. Holmes pulls her sideline conversion left, NZ 76-12

20th minute - From the scrum, the Ferns shift left, but Woodman can't add to her tally. The NZ forwards drive towards the posts, but Japan win a relieving penalty.

Roos replaces Bremner at lock.

19th minute - Fluhler chases the kickoff and forces a turnover from Japan near their own 22.

17th minute - TRY to Sadaka

Japan win a scrum penalty and take a quick tap that puts the NZ defence on the backfoot. Sadak has the try, but they can't convert, NZ 71-12

16th minute - From the kickoff, Ferns are penalised for not releasing the ball and Japan kick to the corner for an attacking lineout. Ponsonby, Tubic and Marino-Tauhinu enter the game, as Japan overthrow the lineout and knock on.

13th minute - TRY to Woodman

Ferns control the kickoff again and rumble towards the Japan half. Demant stabs a kick through and Fluhler gathers the kind bounce. She finds Holmes, who draws the last tackler to put Woodman away for her sixth.

Holmes converst from the sideline, NZ 71-7

11th minute - TRY to Woodman

Big scrum from Japan, but the Ferns clear the ball to Woodman, who dashes 60 metres to score her fifth. Cocksedge adds two more from close range, NZ 64-7

10th minute - Ngan-Woo wins another lineout and Reynolds charges off her own goal-line. Demant clears and Japan knock on in midfield.

Ninth minute - Japan kick to the corner and find touch a few metres from the tryline, but they could have kept that in hand.

Eighth minute - Japan have the ball in hand inside their own half, but eventually resort to a kick ahead. Tui can't gather clearnly and Japan are on attack near the 22.

Seventh minute - Coach Wayne Smith rolls some subs, with Fluhler and Reynolds coming on for Hirini and Fitzpatrick.

Fourth minute - Ferns forwards take the kickoff in hand and rumble to the Japan 22 in double quick time.

TRY to Holmes

Japan win a turnover and break towards halfway, before they spill the ball and Ferns build again. Tui makes ground into the 22 and finds Holmes for a clear run to the line.

Cocksedge converts, NZ 57-7

First minute - TRY to Woodman

Cocksedge kicks off and Japan control possession, keeping the ball in hand, but driven back from the Ferns forwards. NZ are penalised and Japan take another quick tap, trying to keep a fast tempt.

NZ turn the ball over from the ruck and fast hands see Nga-Woo find Woodman with space, and she has too much gas. Holmes is close with another sideline conversion, NZ 50-7


40th minute - Japan win their lineout inside NZ half, but they spill the ball on halfway and then win the ball back.

They have the ball as the siren sounds, but the Ferns are called for offside. Their touchfinder doesn't find touch and Tui keeps the ball alive.

Demant breaks over halfway and kicks towards the right corner for Tui to chase, but the ball beats her into touch, as the half ends.

39th minute - Ferns regain possession from their kickoff and Cocksedge pops a little kick into the 22, where Japan tidy up and clear.

37th minute - TRY to Sato

Japan win a penalty advantage, but they're charging towards the tryline. After a couple of phases, flanker Sato burrows over from a close-range ruck.

Hiriyama converts, NZ 45-7

36th minute - Japan take a quick tap and enter the NZ 22, building some phases for the first time.

35th minute - Fitzpatrick takes the kickoff and NZ try to build from inside their own half, but concede a penalty.

33rd minute - TRY to Hirini

Ngan-Woo wins another lineout and Hirini charges up midfield. Woodman makes more metres up the left, before Hirini receives the ball back and shows her pace, even though there was a forward pass from Connor in the build-up.

Holmes can't convert from the sideline, NZ 45-0

32nd minute - Japan scrum is much better lately and they find touch near the NZ 22.

31st minute - From the lineout, Ferns shift right and Fitzpatrick reaches halfway, but knocks on. Japan feed to the scrum.

30th minute - Ngan-Woo wins the lineout for the Ferns. Cocksedge's pass to du Plessis looks forward, but Japan steal the ball anyway and clear towards halfway.

29th minute - Cocksedge kicks long and finds touch deep inside Japan half, so that attack came to nothing for the visitors. Their throw to the lineout is nowhere near straight.

28th minute - Attacking lineout for Japan and they win it at the back. Their maul is going backwards and NZ forwards pile over to win a turnover.

27th minute - Ferns have the ball in hand from kickoff, but Japan rip it away and go on attack for the first time. Tui deflects a pass and is whistled for knock-on.

25th minute - TRY to Woodman

Well, that was almost inevitable. Woodman gets the ball and steps her defender, before dashing over in the corner for an early hat-trick. Holmes has another wide conversion and slots it, NZ 40-0

24th minute - From the scrum, Cocksedge kicks to the corner and barely finds the field of play for a 50-22. Ferns win the lineout, but Japan stop the maul, so they shift left...

23rd minute - Japan put a few passes together off the scrum, but they're stopped in midfield, where Woodman forces a knock on.

22nd minute - Ferns knock on in the lineout, so Japan have a scrum feed on halfway.

21st minute - Better scrum from Japan and their clearance is partially charged again, but Tui can't keep the ball in play on halfway.

20th minute - From the scrum, McMenamin finds Cocksedge, but Tui again overruns the inside pass, so the halfback looks wide. The ball is spilled, so Japan have a defensive feed.

19th minute - Ferns already back in Japan half from the kickoff and quick hands put Fitzpatrick into a gap. Her offload goes loose, but NZ have a penalty in front of the posts - Demant calls for a scrum.

16th minute - TRY to Connor

Try to the birthday girl! Ferns forwards barge over halfway from the kickoff and Cocksedge makes a break into the 22, but has to hold the ball up, as Tui overruns. Bremner picks the ball from the ruck and offloads for Conner to charge over.

Cocksedge converts from in front, NZ 33-0

14th minute - TRY to Woodman

From the kickoff, Deman slices through the defence and finds du Plessis in support. Holmes continues the movement towards Woodman's wing and she won't be stopped.

Holmes hit the upright on her last sideline attempt, but is on target this time, NZ 26-0

11th minute - TRY to Woodman

Japan have barely had the ball in the opening minutes, but they secure ball from the scrum. Their clearing kick is partially charged down and Woodman has too much gas, simply running around the defence to score in the corner.

Holmes  misses the sideline conversion, NZ 19-0

10th minute - Ngan-Woo makes hard metres and her forward follow. They are now in the Japan 22, before the ball is spilled.

Ninth minute - Fitzpatrick takes the kickoff and feeds McMenamin. The Ferns forwards are outmuscling and Demant stabs a kick through for her backs to chase.

Eighth minute - TRY to Cocksedge

NZ win the lineout and Hirini features again in midfield. Woodman makes a halfbreak and eventually Cocksedge gathers the loose ball to dive over the tryline. Ngan-Woo and Rule handled in the build-up, and Rules offload goes backwards, before bouncing forward, so Cocksedge's try stands.

Seventh minute - From the kickoff, du Plessis makes good ground after the tackle and the Ferns pour over halfway, where they win a penalty. Demant kicks to touch and finds it near the Japan 10.

Fifth minute - TRY to Cocksedge

From the scrum, McManemin finds Cocksedge running right and she has too much strength for a couple of defenders. Cocksedge converst her own try, NZ 7-0

Fourth minute - Japan feed to the scrum, but a big push from the Ferns has them in reverse. Japan are forced back over their goal-line, so NZ have an attacking scrum.

Third minute - From the scrum, Woodman runs off Cocksedge, but her offload is knocked on by McManemin.

Second minute - Japan's throw to the lineout is not straight, so NZ have a scrum feed on the 22 in good attacking position.

First minute - Maggie Cogger-Orr will referee this match and Japan will kick off. Black Ferns control the kickoff and Woodman makes good ground down the left sideline, but Demant eventually stumbles into touch, as she finds Cocksedge racing towards the tryline.

4:25pm - Welcome to our live coverage, where both teams are lined up for the national anthems... and then the Black Ferns haka, which will no doubt win fans around the world over coming weeks.

The Japanese have advanced on the haka, so responding to the challenge... good to see.


Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Black Ferns' final hitout against Japan, before they attempt to defend their Rugby World Cup crown on home soil.

The NZ women last took the field against Australia, when they maintained their unbeaten record against the Wallaroos and retained the Laurie O'Reilly Trophy for trans-Tasman supremacy.

After running riot in the first of their two tests at Christchurch, the Ferns were made to overcome a halftime deficit in the return match at Adelaide, looking very patchy in the process.

They will need this fixture to take some momentum into the world tournament, which kicks off at this same venue - Auckland's Eden Park - on October 8, when they face the Aussies again in their opening pool match. 

Coach Wayne Smith has named his 32-player squad for the World Cup, including several from the Olympic champion sevens programme, so this looms as a chance for them to get some 15s action under their belts before the tournament.

Japan are considered World Cup longshots, ranking ahead of only Fiji among the 12 teams contesting the trophy, but they did beat Australia earlier this year and have avoided the three favourites - England, NZ and France - in pool play.


Black Ferns Sevens heartbreak fuelling Hirini's Rugby World Cup ambition

By Reece Labuschagne

Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini has her eyes on World Cup redemption, after heartbreak in South Africa just over a week ago.

New Zealand were stunned by Australia 24-22 in the final of the Sevens World Cup final at Cape Town.

A self-confessed bad loser, Hirini has taken time away from social media to digest the agonising loss, but is now raring to go for the Black Ferns 15-a-side team.

With the World Cup beginning on October 8, the Black Ferns play Japan in a warm-up match at Eden Park on Saturday and Hirini has her sights firmly set on what's ahead.

"I think that's why I took a bit of time off social media, not to forget about it, but to know that it's there and move on," she said.

"I knew I had to move on quite quickly. I don't want to come into this environment and act like a sad sack, and bring whatever happened last week into it.

Sarah Hirini in action for Black Ferns Sevens
Sarah Hirini in action for Black Ferns Sevens. Photo credit: Photosport

"I knew I had to come in here with a new energy and new excitement. I had to learn a lot and there's been a lot that I've had to know the last couple days and the test match this weekend.

"It's kind of move on pretty quickly and we've got something else to focus on."

Hirini is far from a newcomer to the 15s game, previously turning out for New Zealand at the 2017 World Cup, but she's made a name for herself in sevens, where she debuted in 2013 and is now regarded as one of the best players in the world.

She admits the transition back to the traditional format has been tough, but relishes the challenge and appreciates the support she's received from her teammates.

"I texted my husband this morning and said, 'It's been really nice to actually get up before training and learn stuff'," she said.

"I'm not saying I don't learn in sevens, but there's so much I have to know before Saturday and it's no excuse that I'm new, hich has been cool. I've had four girls come up to me and say, 'If you need anything, I'm here, if I can help with anything'.

"There's plenty of amazing people that I know are going to help me - I think even relearning the haka will be pretty scary as well."