The world champion Black Ferns defeated the Wallaroos 45-17 in Auckland on Saturday to wrap up a 2-0 series win and retain the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy.
Just as they had done in winning 31-11 in Sydney sevens days earlier, the Black Ferns physically dominated their opponents up front to lay the platform for a 17th straight victory against their trans-Tasman rivals dating back to the first test in 1994.
Australia had their moments, especially with ball in hand, and only trailed 19-10 at the break after tries from captain and hooker Liz Patu and half-back Trilleen Pomara. All three of New Zealand’s first-half tries came from forwards with Aldora Itunu, Pip Love and second-row Eloise Blackwell rumbling over.
Theresa Fitzpatrick weaved her way through the Australia defence to score the first try of the second half before Kendra Cocksedge (pictured) added another from a well-executed set-play move shortly after.
Renee Wickliffe acrobatically touched down in the corner for the Black Ferns’ sixth try as the hour-mark approached, and there was still time for the prolific Selica Winiata to get her name on the scoresheet following slick hands from the inside backs.
Replacement prop Hana Ngaha scored a consolation try for Australia in the 71st minute.
As a further sign of the Black Ferns’ growing popularity, at the end of their game at Eden Park, a double header with the All Blacks-Wallabies test, there were over 28,000 fans in attendance – over double the crowd that witnessed the same fixture at the venue two years earlier.
"Every test we do get on big grounds is awesome for us. To have a fixture alongside the All Blacks today, all the girls are excited, especially at a home turf where your family and friends can be present," said Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili, a hat-trick hero in the first test.
"If we do get a test on its own that's outstanding, but for us Black Ferns it's just getting more test matches, getting out there and performing and displaying what the women's game is all about so whether it's on its own or alongside another team like the All Blacks we'll be happy just to play rugby."
The Blacks Ferns can now look forward to their November campaign, featuring a one-off game against the USA in Chicago and a two-test series against France, safe in the knowledge that their spot at the top of the World Rugby Women’s Rankings is assured for at least a couple more months.
The Black Ferns currently hold a 4.23-point lead over England at the top of the rankings, while Australia remain in fifth place, unchanged on 78.68 points.
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