Black Ferns suffer yet another record defeat

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Nov 2021, 10:30AM
England's Poppy Cleall celebrates one of four rolling-maul tries by the English pack. (Photo / Photosport)
England's Poppy Cleall celebrates one of four rolling-maul tries by the English pack. (Photo / Photosport)

Black Ferns suffer yet another record defeat

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Nov 2021, 10:30AM

The Black Ferns have suffered yet another record defeat at the hands of England, this time going down 56-15 to the world number one side in Northampton. 

It was an absolutely dominant performance from England against the world champion New Zealanders, just a year out from the World Cup, and marked the first time any side had put 50 points past the Ferns. 

It was also the first time since 2012 that England have beaten New Zealand in back-to-back games. 

England scored 11 tries in all, including four from rolling mauls, illustrating its dominance in the forwards. 

Although the visitors showed early signs of intent, they were twice stopped in their tracks by Marlie Packer, England's turnover queen, whose dominance at the breakdown played a crucial part in her side's blistering start in which England ran in three tries after a quarter of an hour. 

For New Zealand, alarm bells will surely be ringing. With less than a year to go until they defend their World Cup in their own backyard, they have a mountain to climb if they want to get anywhere close to England's superiority - not to mention getting their youngsters up to speed. On this occasion, head coach Glenn Moore took the liberty to blood five debutants. 

Moore applauded the England side, acknowledging the power of its pack, and said he was proud of a team he says is young and in the midst of a rebuilding phase. 

"We have to keep getting back up. We have to congratulate England, they are a well polished outfit at the moment, their maul is a real strength," Moore said after the fulltime whistle. 

"I'm proud of our young players. We are investing back home. We have a new domestic league that's something we wanted to have before covid. That's going to be important for us." 

While these two defeats are steeped in mitigation - the Black Ferns played their first Test match in two years last week because of the pandemic - they face a race against time to schedule in some much-needed gametime. 

Talismanic winger Portia Woodman proved the side's biggest threat all game. She wrestled her way down the right and was eventually rewarded with two consolation tries after the break and did brilliantly to haul down Leanne Infante as she was charging towards the line for her second. Stacey Fluhler also crossed in the opposite corner to limit some of the damage at the death. 

Meanwhile England coach Simon Middleton said the victory of the kind inconceivable coming into the series. 

"No I couldn't have imagined this. We knew the Black Ferns were a bit unknown but we talk about being able to adapt quickly. We learned quickly on the field and we got good processes in place," he said following the rout. 

The Black Ferns will try to begin regaining some pride next Sunday when they begin a two-test series against France.