Rugby World Cup: Sevens star Portia Woodman scores seven tries, as Black Ferns run amok against Japan

Sevens star Portia Woodman has returned to the Black Ferns fold with seven tries against Japan in their final hitout before the Rugby World Cup on home soil, starting next month.

The NZ women scored 15 tries and almost accumulated 100 points, as they overcame their rivals 95-12 in their first-ever meeting at Auckland's Eden Park. Woodman accounted for almost half that try haul, with sevens teammates Sarah Hirini, Stacey Fluhler and Ruby Tui also finding the line.

Despite victory over Australia earlier this year, Japan are among the outsiders at the World Cup - their world ranking of 13th is better than just Fiji among the 12 teams entered - so they were up against if from the start.

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

New Zealand wasted little time stamping their superiority, with veteran halfback Kendra Cocksedge securing a try double within eight minutes of kickoff.

Japan simply could not secure possession, but the Ferns feasted on their share of the ball, with Woodman showing her pace with an early try double of her own. After 16 minutes, they were ahead 33-0, with Woodman bring up her hattrick before halftime.

Coach Wayne Smith hoped to use this fixture to bring his sevens converts up to speed in the expanded format and they featured prominently, with Hirini showing her playmaking skills.

They also showed their innate combination forged over years of playing together, adding another dimenstion to Smith's vision of an expansion game style.

Japan scored a try before the break, when New Zealand led 45-7, and added another midway through the second half, but the contest was mainly oneway traffic.

Smith will pick on the mistakes that led to those tries, as he prepares his side to defend their World Cup crown, opening their account against Australia on October 8.

NZ 95 (Woodman 7, Cocksedge 2, Connor, Holmes, du Plessis, Fluhler, Tui & Hirini tries; Cocksedge 5 conversions, Holmes 4 conversions, Marino-Tauhinu conversion) Japan 12 (Sato & Sadaka tries; Hiriyama conversion)

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