Rugby: Black Ferns hang on for thrilling win over NZ Barbarians

The Black Ferns have survived an almighty scare to grind out a 19-17 victory over NZ Barbarians at Nelson's Trafalgar Park.

The game came down to the wire, with the Baabaas having one final opportunity in added time, but unable to convert and the Ferns held on. 

New Zealand came into this contest after dropping to No.2 in the world rankings, after England claimed top spot with victory over France last weekend.

They made a hot start, scoring two tries in the opening 10 minutes. A frantic opening two minutes saw Pip Love powering over from just five metres out to open the scoring. 

Six minutes later, the Ferns extended their lead, when hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate crashed over, after a perfect lineout maul from the reigning world champions.

The Barbarians showed their spirit and scored two tries in three minutes to grab a deserved 14-12 lead. 

Captain Alana Bremner scored her side's opening try, as she muscled over, before Amy Rule did the same to give the Barbarians a surprising advantage. 

As the halftime siren went, the Black Ferns clawed their way in front for what turned out to be the match-winning try. Love grabbed her second for the afternoon, when she forced her way over to give the Ferns a 19-14 lead at the break. 

The second half was a real arm-wrestle, with the only points coming through the boot of Barbarians first-five Patricia Maliepo. 

This was the final match of the year for the Black Ferns, with no matches confirmed before the Rugby World Cup next year. 

Black Ferns 19 (Love 2 & Ngata-Aerengamate tries; Cocksedge 2 conversions) NZ Barbarians 17 (Bremner & Rule tries; Maliepo 2 conversions & penalty)