Live updates: Rugby World Cup 2021 - Black Ferns v Australia at Auckland's Eden Park

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NZ 41 Australia 17

NZ - Ngan-Woo, Tangen-Wainohu, Tui 2 & Woodman 3 tries; Cocksedge conversion, Holmes 2 conversions

Australia - Terita 2 & Wong tries; McKenzie conversion

Second half

40th minute - Bremner charges away from a ruck and wins a midfield penalty as the final siren sounds. Tubic taps and kicks for touch to end the contest, as New Zealand breath a sigh of relief with a hardfought victory.

39th minute - Pomare hits du Plessis hard to spoilt the Ferns attack and then sets off on a long run.

38th minute - The judges agree with me - Tui is named Player of the Match.

Bremner wins a lineout and finds Roos peeling around the back, but Reynolds drops the ball out right. Ref was playing advantage.

37th minute - Roos claims another lineout, but du Plessis can't handle a pass in midfield. McKenzie stabs a kick through, but Woodman gathers and the Ferns launch another attack.

36th minute - Terita dashes forward and claims the kickoff for Australia, but they're penalised at the breakdown.

34th minute - TRY to Tui

Roos wins the lineout, Demants throws an inside touch pass and Tui slices through the Aussie defence to score her second in the corner. Tubic's sideline conversion is short, NZL 41-17

33rd minute - Roos pounces on a loose ball and Ferns win a clearing penalty at the breakdown. Demant finds touch near the Aussie 10.

32nd minute - Tubic steals the ball and kicks ahead. Aussies take a quick throw-in and make progress down the left.

31st minute - Aussies attack off the scrum, but Terita is driven back in midfield.

30th minute - Ferns control the kickoff, but spill a pass in midfield. Aussies try to break down the left, but can't gain any advantage, so they come back for the scrum.

28th minute - McKenzie clears her goal-line, but doesn't reach the 22. Marino-Tauhinu replaces Cocksedge.

TRY to Tui

Ferns win the lineout and their forwards pick and go towards the line, before releasing right for Tui to score in the corner. That's well deserved for probably the Ferns' best tonight.

That's the bonus point, but Tubic's conversion sprays wide left, NZL 36-17

27th minute - Demant kicks to the corner for an attacking lineout, Bremner wins the throw and Reynolds dashes around the front of the line, but Australia steal the ball.

26th minute - Tui claims another dropout and Ferns go on attack again. Cocksedge throws a pass into a retreating Aussie player, winning a penalty.

Fluhler leaves the field and Tubic replaces her. Mikaele-Tu'u has passed her head check and replaces McMenamin.

25th minute - Aussies win the lineout against the throw, but the ball is stolen back by McMenamin. A kick-through rolls dead before Woodman can catch it.

24th minute - Wong and Parry return after their yellow cards, with NZ scoring two converted tries in their absence.

McKenzie kicks ahead, but the ball goes out on the full and NZ have a lineout on the Aussie 10.

23rd minute - Brunt replaces HOlmes, NZ secure the kickoff and Cocksedge throws a no-look pass behind to Woodman.

21st minute - TRY to Woodman

When the forwards release the ball, the backs shift it left, where Fluhler somehow throws a blind over-the-shoulder pass for Woodman to secure her hattrick. Holmes slots her sideline conversion, NZL 31-17

20th minute - McMenamin charges off the back of the scrum, as the forwards roll down the right.

19th minute - Ferns win a free-kick at the scrum and Demant opts for another scrum just outside the Aussie 22.

18th minute - Hirini takes the kickoff and out right, Fluhler sets Tui loose, but she has the ball knocked loose with the line at her mercy.

16th minute - TRY to Tangen-Wainohu

Tui and Cocksedge go close, before the prop rumbles across from a ruck to put NZ ahead for the first time. Holmes converts, NZL 24-17

15th minute - Ferns have a player advantage in the scrum, but Aussie feed. McKenzie clears, but Holmes fields and the Ferns launch through Tui.

14th minute - The video ref has called them back for another offence by Australia, with captain Parry hitting Mikaele-Tu'u with a shoulder to the head. She will see yellow too and the Wallaroos are down to 13 players for the next 10 minutes - this will be a key passage in this contest.

Ferns take a quick tap to stretch the Aussies, but Roos knocks on at the ruck. Mikaele-Tu'u leaves the field for a concussion check, replaced by Reynolds, while Taumata is on for Rule.

13th minute - Demant slips a clever pass to Rule, who rumbles forward, and Wong is yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on.

12th minute - McKenzie lines up a penalty to retake the lead, but hits the right upright and Ferns try to clear their 22.

11th minute - Cocksedge feeds a defensive scrum midway between 22 and 10. Big Aussie scrum wins a penalty in midfield, so a baptism of fire for the new frontrowers.

Ninth minute - Some big changes in the NZ forward pack, with Ponsonby abd Tangen-Wainohu replacing Connor and Love, while Roos switches in for Ngan-Woo.

Seventh minute - TRY to Woodman

Demant slices through the defence on halfway and finds Hirini, who offloads to Cocksedge. The ball shifts left and Woodman probably could have passed to du Plessis, but chose to keep the ball for her try double.

Holmes' sideline conversion just dips under the bar, 17-17

Sixth minute - Love charges through a ruck and almost steals the ball, but Hamilton charges away. Holmes fields a long kick and then receives the ball back to break out of her 22.

Fifth minute - Aussies run off the scrum and reach their 10 through Hamilton. They shift left and cross halfway.

Fourth minute - Ferns win the lineout and spread it left, but Woodman's hands let her down.

Third minute - Aussies run off the scrum, but Williams is stopped in midfield. McKenzie clears her 22.

Second minute - Ngan-Wood wins the lineout, but the Aussies have stopped the maul. They have wrapped the ball up and win a turnover.

First minute - Cocksedge kicks off for the second half, but Tui chases hard and knocks on. Aussies try to regather, but Mikaele-Tu'u is over the breakdown to win a penalty.

Demant kicks into the 22 for an attacking lineout.

8:06pm - Sure enough, Taika Waititi has managed to steal the spotlight during Rugby World Cup, grabbing the mic to introduce his wife and the Patea Māori Club, who will perform their Kiwi classic Poi E.

"To all those rugby coaches who said I'd never make it to Eden Park, in your face."


40th minute - Ngan-Woo steals an Aussie throw to the lineout, but her offload bounces forward. The siren sounds as the scrum packs down, Aussies shit left, where Wong threatens.

Australia on the NZ 22 again, but Bremner is through the breakdown and NZ win a clearing penalty. Demant taps the ball and kicks out to end the half.

39th minute - Aussies smother a rolling kick and try to build an attack on halfway, winning a breakdown penalty on halfway.

38th minute - Woodman claims the kickoff and the Ferns charge forward again through the forwards.

36th minute - TRY to Woodman

McKenzie's clearing kick doesn't find touch and Tui fields, spreading the ball left, where Woodman has too much pace and scores in the corner. HOlmes' sideline conversion is short, AUS 17-12

35th minute - Ferns into Aussie 22 and Hirini charges off the ruck. Cocksedge shares the ball to the backs and du Plessis challenges the defence, but Aussies steal the ball.

34th minute - Demant's touchfinder misses its mark, but Woodman steals the ball back and McMenamin rumbles forward.

33rd minute - Hirini claims the kickoff and the Ferns roll forward, earning a penalty to clear their half.

31st minute - TRY to Ngan-Woo

Ferns forwards rumble towards the 22, before the backs threaten down the right. Love goes close to scoring, before Ngan-Woo charges through the ruck to score.

As Cocksedge slots the conversion from a handy angle, Love is struggling with injury, AUS 17-7

30th minute - NZ need to score next, but they need to hang onto the ball first.

28th minute - TRY to Terita

Aussies win the lineout and release the ball to the backs, where Terita is cutting them apart down the right. Holmes slips off the tackle again and Woodman can't hold her either.

McKenzie is again wayward from the sideline, AUS 17-0

27th minute - McKenzie kicks to the corner again for another attacking lineout. Ferns have defending this pretty well so far.

26th minute - Long throw from the Aussies to the lineout and they maul, but are held up. They release, the Ferns defence is set, but called offside.

25th minute - Another handling error from the Ferns turns into a penalty for Australia near the NZ 10. McKenzie kicks to the corner.

24th minute - Australia launch off a scrum again, Hirini makes a big tackle and Tui is over the ball to win another clearing penalty.

22nd minute - Ngan-Woo wins a marginal throw from Connor at the lineout, but Holmes spills a pass from Fluhler and the Ferns on the backfoot again.

21st minute - Aussies win a short throw and enter the 22. Ferns defence being tested again, as HOlmes slips off a tackle on Wong.

Love is over the breakdown to win a relieving penalty.

19th minute - Batibasaga chips into space and the ball bounces into touch outside the NZ 22. Called a 50-22, so Aussie throw-in and more pressure on the Ferns.

18th minute - Australia control the kickoff and cross halfway quickly.

16th minute - TRY to Wong

Cocksedge kicks off and Mikaele-Tu'u almost steals the ball. Holmes fields a rolling kick and the Ferns launch an attack down the right, but the ball goes loose and Wong pounces to sprint 60 metres to score.

McKenzie's conversion is handy to the posts and she slots it, AUS 12-0

13th minute - TRY to Terita

Hirini is penalised for offside and the Aussies take a tap, shifting the ball right, and Terita fends off Holmes and scores in Woodman's tackle. McKenzie's sideline conversion doesn't reach the uprights, AUS 5-0

12th minute - Cocksedge drop kicks from her line, but Williams brings the ball back inside the 22 and Australia are back on attack.

11th minute - Hamilton charges off the back of the scrum and Lafai goes close, but Tui saves a try by getting under the ball and holding it up.

10th minute - Friedrichs  goes close in the left corner, but is stopped. The ref has spotted a knock-on from NZ.

Ninth minute - Another attacking lineout from the Aussies and they maul towards the line again. They're told to use it and the Ferns defence is strong in midfield.

Eighth minute - Australia under penalty advantage for a no-arms tackle and Williams is stopped cold in midfield, so back for the penalty.

Seventh minute - Naiqama wins the lineout for Australia and they maul towards the tryline.

Sixth minute - Big scrum from the Ferns, but Aussies clear and kick ahead, gathered by Holmes and stolen by the Wallaroos. McKenzie kicks to the corner for a lineout...

Fifth minute - Good continuity by the NZ forwards, but Bremner loses the ball in a tackle, as Mikaele-Tu'u desperately tries to put her boot back on in the background.

Fourth minute - Bremner wins the lineout and Hirini takes the ball forward, before releasing to the backline.

Third minute - Australia inside the NZ 22, but the Ferns have stolen the ball at the breakdown, Connor over the top.

Second minute - Solid scrum from both sides, but Aussies trying to break the defensive line.

First minute - South African Almee Barrett-Theron is the referee tonight, with Australia to kick off...

Hirini gathers the kickoff, but McMenamin spills the ball in a tackle, so early advantage to the Aussies.

7:13pm - Black Ferns forming for their haka. Some say it is better than the All Blacks and you can expect it to carry extra emotion tonight, led by captain Ruahei Demant.

Like the Wallabies before them, the Wallaroos are advancing to halfway to meet the challenge.


7:08pm - New Zealand and Australia are taking the field for anthems and the haka, greeted by a record crowd for women's rugby.

NZ national anthem first, which suggests maybe this is actually an Australia home game on Eden Park.

6:59pm - International recording artist Rita Ora is delivering her pre-game show at Eden Park. If you've never heard of her, she's probably most famous in these parts for marrying Kiwi movie director Taika Waititi.

No doubt he's scored some prime seats for the spectacle tonight. 


Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Rugby World Cup clash between New Zealand and Australia at a packed out Eden Park - a record crowd for women's rugby.

On the opening day of the tournament, the champion Black Ferns will want to make a statement to their challengers, who will smell blood in the water, after their disastrous northern hemisphere tour last year.

The NZ women suffered record defeats to England and France, who have already played today and will have established a high benchmark for this event.

New Zealand has never lost to Australia in women's rugby and the trans-Tasman rivals have already met three times this year for three Ferns victories. While the second of those saw the Kiwis crack 50 points, the other two encounters were closely fought affairs.

Both sides have been bolstered by their champion sevens specialists, with Sarah Hirini, Portia Woodman and Stacey Fluhler named in the Ferns starting XV. 

Join us at 7:15pm for kickoff.

TAB Odds: NZ $1.02, Draw $36, Australia $11

Australia: 1-Liz Patu, 2-Adiana Talakai, 3-Bridie O’Gorman, 4-Sera Naiqama, 5-Atasi Lafai, 6-Emily Chancellor, 7-Shannon Parry, 8-Grace Hamilton, 9-Iliseva Batibasaga, 10-Arabella McKenzie, 11-Ivania Wong, 12-Sharni Williams, 13-Georgina Friedrichs, 14-Bienne Terita, 15-Pauline Piliae

Reserves: 16-Ashley Marsters, 17-Emily Robinson, 18-Eva Karpani, 19-Michaela Leonard, 20-Grace Kemp, 21-Layne Morgan, 22-Trilleen Pomare, 23-Lori Cramer

New Zealand: 1-Phillippa Love, 2- Luka Connor, 3-Amy Rule, 4-Joanah Ngan-Woo, 5-Chelsea Bremner, 6-Charmaine McMenamin, 7-Sarah Hirini, 8-Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, 9-Kendra Cocksedge, 10-Ruahei Demant, 11-Portia Woodman, 12-Amy du Plessis, 13-Stacey Fluhler, 14-Ruby Tui, 15-Renee Holmes

Reserves: 16-Georgia Ponsonby, 17-Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, 18-Santo Taumata, 19-Maia Roos, 20-Kendra Reynolds, 21-Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, 22-Hazel Tubic, 23-Sylvia Brunt


'Huge honour': RWC legacy about inspiring next generation - Black Ferns skipper

By Alex Powell

The NZ-hosted Rugby World Cup is about so much more than the here-and-now for the Black Ferns - it's about paving the way for the next generation to shine on the world stage.

The home side will step out onto a soldout Eden Park on Saturday night, beginning their title defence against Australia in front of a world record crowd for a women's test match.

It will end a five-year wait for the Black Ferns to partake in the major tournament, with the standard four years between Rugby World Cups supplemented by an additional 13-month delay, due to COVID-19.

But come kickoff, the Black Ferns will have their first opportunity to win a World Cup on home soil - to go with five won abroad.

For co-captain Ruahei Demant, the chance to play in front of sellout crowds at home will be a pivotal moment in the game in New Zealand, as she aims to light the way for those to come.

What's more, this World Cup - as well as the growth of the game at all levels - can see New Zealand close the gap on European teams, where women's rugby is played professionally.

"To think this World Cup here in Aotearoa is going to inspire the next generation of Black Ferns, the next generation of future stars - and we can be part of that legacy - it's a huge responsibility, but also a huge honour," she said.

Ruahei Demant leads the Black Ferns haka
Ruahei Demant leads the Black Ferns haka. Photo credit: Getty

"I'm hoping it can inspire the next generation of future Black Ferns and future All Blacks."

Demant, 27, is one of 17 players who'll make her Rugby World Cup debut, with few survivors from the 2017 tournament.

"In the long run, I'm hoping this World Cup in Aotearoa can level the playing field between men and women," she said. "It's something that is constantly spoken about and is being done overseas, but hasn't been done or achieved yet here in Aotearoa - especially with rugby.

"I hope that's the legacy of this World Cup."

The 2017 World Cup, held in Ireland, had Demant watching as a fan, before making her debut nearly a year later, and the chance to not only play in a World Cup, but lead the team as well, isn't lost on the Black Ferns first-five.

While some would shy away from the pressure, Demant and the Black Ferns are grateful for it.

"I remember, back in 2017, supporting this team, as did many of the girls who are here," Demant continued. "It never ever crossed my mind that I'd be playing in the next World Cup, let alone leading this team."

She added it's a "huge honour".

"It's very humbling, but that responsibility is also there as well, to enhance the mana, enhance the legacy of this team.

"It's pressure, but it's a privileged pressure. To be able to do that here in front of our fans, in front of our whanau, we're very, very lucky."

A capacity crowd of 40,000 will pack into Eden Park for Saturday's tournament-opening matches, with South Africa meeting France and England against Fiji, before the Black Ferns' trans-Tasman clash.

The sellout means a record crowd for a women's sporting event in New Zealand and more than double the previous attendance record for a women's World Cup.

"It's quite unbelievable, thinking women's sport has sold out Eden Park," said Demant. "I don't think any of us could have imagined this at all, especially with the lead-up, the setbacks, the challenges."

Catch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join Newshub on Saturday for live updates of the Black Ferns v Australia World Cup opener.