A second-half blitz has propelled the Black Ferns to a comprehensive 45-17 win over Australia’s Wallaroos in the return test at Eden Park.
Leading by just nine at half-time, the world champions moved through the gears after the break, adding four more tries - all scored by backs - as they ran their visitors ragged in front of a near record crowd.
This was vintage Black Ferns rugby at times - a true team performance - as they recorded a 17th straight-win over the Wallaroos.
With the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy already secured following last week’s Sydney test, the Black Ferns wanted a good start in good conditions and they got it.
Prop Aldora Ituni - who had been under an injury cloud before kick-off - muscled over the line from close range after just five minutes. Replays suggested a double movement but the television match official didn’t agree and the Black Ferns were away.
Not to be outdone by her fellow front rower, loosehead prop Pip Love added her name to the scoreboard seven minutes later with a similar effort, although there was little doubt about her touch down.
The boot of vice-captain Kendra Cocksedge gave the Black Ferns 12-nil up in as many minutes and the deficit seemed the spark the Wallaroos into life.
Good field position was soon turned into points when first-five Trileen Pomare barged over after watching her forwards work multiple phases off a line-out.
But as they’ve done so often against the Wallaroos, the Black Ferns struck back almost immediately with lock Eloise Blackwell using her considerable frame to score.
With the Cocksedge adding a second conversion, coach Glenn Moore would’ve taken a 14 point advantage into half time.
But instead he had to settle for single figures with the Wallaroos striking just before the break. Captain Liz Patu spinning in the tackle before planting the ball over the line.
The Black Ferns started the second half with plenty of intensity as it didn’t take long for the pressure to tell on the visitors. Second five Theresa Fitzpatrick using brute strength to score with Cocksedge adding the extras.
Cocksedge went over herself moments later after a brilliant set move to push New Zealand passed 30.
The floodgates threatened to open when Renee Wickcliffe and Selica Winiata also added five pointers but it would be the Australians who had the final say with replacement Hana Ngaha bagging the last try of the game.
But it was merely consolation and the Black Ferns completed a dominant victory.
Black Ferns 45; Itunu, Love, Blackwell, Fitzpatrick, Cocksedge, Wickliffe, Winiata tries,
Cocksedge 5 conversions, Australia 17, Pomare, Patu, Ngaha tries, Hake conversion.