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Black Ferns play out gritty wet weather win over Canada



New Zealand’s forwards had a challenge on their hands, with Canadian captain Kelly Russell leading a strong Canadian forward pack.

The even exchanges up front meantime match would be determined by which side could pose the biggest threats in their backline.

Linda Itunu’s physicality for the Black Ferns enabled the hosts to get some much-needed momentum, while opposing No.8 Kelly Russell led her troops bravely from the front.

New Zealand’s stoic defence finally broke in the 75th minute, when Huriana Manuel’s missed tackled on Mandy Marchak proved costly, the centre scoring to reduce the deficit to eight.

But in the end it was too little too late and the Black Ferns held on for their third straight win in the International Women’s Rugby Series.

It was a disappointing blow for Canada, who had made a number of attacking runs into New Zealand’s half only to be denied by some superior cover defence or some ball handling mistakes.

They will, however, be satisfied with their best-ever performance against New Zealand in their nine-game history.

The match between the two best sides of the series was played in atrocious conditions at the Tauranga Domain.

Kendra Cocksedge and Magali Harvey’s early penalties for New Zealand and Canada respectively ensured both sides would pay for a heavy penalty count early in the match.

New Zealand’s backline responded and second five-eighths Rule was the benefactor when an exchange from Cocksedge and Selica Winiata found the vice captain in space. She scored to give New Zealand an 11-3 lead.

Canada surged in response and went close before some poor ball handling near the line denied the visitors. The half-time hooter sounded, and New Zealand held an eight-point halftime advantage.

Winiata scored her seventh try of the series to extend the lead to 13 points six minutes into the second half.

Canada’s patience on attack finally paid dividends as Marchak scored to end the match on a high for the despondent Canadians.

The two sides meet in the final match of the series at Whakatane’s Rugby Park on Saturday.

New Zealand 16 (Amiria Rule, Selica Winiata tries; Kendra Cocksedge 2 pen)

Canada 8 (Mandy Marchak try; Magali Harvey pen)

HT: 11-3.     10 Jun 2014     NZR



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