A thrilling start for Black Ferns and Women's Rugby World Cup

By Kelvin McDonald
Credit / Sky Sports

A Portia Woodman hat-trick and a Ruby Tui double helped seal a come-from-behind 41-17 Black Ferns victory over Australia in a sellout opening Women's Rugby World Cup game at Eden Park in Tāmaki Makaurau on Saturday night.  

Before the game got underway, the Black Ferns performed a karanga.

"The karanga that you would have heard was just us introducing the teams coming to New Zealand, welcoming you to Auckland, and the last one was about bringing on the challenge. The challenge has been set, and we're ready to go," said Woodman.

"It's only right that, as wāhine, we karanga and welcome all the teams here to Aotearoa and Tāmaki Makaurau," added Ruahei Demant.

The Game

The Wallaroos got away to a flying start, clocking up seventeen unanswered points inside the opening half hour, before New Zealand cut the lead to 17-12 to end the half.

Woodman levelled the score early in the second half, with the Black Ferns going on to run in four more tries to close out the game with a bonus point win in front of a record crowd of 34,235 for a Women's Rugby World Cup game.

Tui was named Player of the Match, receiving the newly minted kaikaranga-inspired trophy.

In other opening-day games, France beat South Africa 40-5 and England defeated Fiji 84-19.

The Black Ferns next game is against Wales on Sunday, 16 October at Waitakere Stadium in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Watch Highlights

Black Ferns 41 (Portia Woodman 3, Ruby Tui 2, Joanah Ngan-Woo, Awhina Tangen-Wainohu tries; Kendra Cocksedge con, Renee Holmes 2 cons)
Australia 17 (Bienne Terita 2, Ivania Wong tries; Arabella McKenzie con)

HT: 12-17