Black Ferns find form in 63-7 Wales thrashing
The Black Ferns ran in 11 tries in a record 63-7 win over Wales today to earn the right to battle for fifth place at the women's rugby World Cup in France.
Devastated at missing out on the place in the semifinals, New Zealand finally found their form in the tournament overnight with a dominant display in Paris.
Left wing Shakira Baker scored four tries as the Black Ferns ripped the Welsh apart with straight running and deft offloads that produced plenty of space for their speedy backs.
The score could have been even higher with better goalkicking - seven conversions were missed.
New Zealand captain Fiao'o Fa'amausill was simply happy that her side had produced an attacking performance reflecting their ability.
"We love playing the wide game," she said.
"Today our forwards played backs and our backs played like forwards. We just wanted to entertain and put a smile on the crowd's faces in this amazing stadium."
New Zealand would now play the United States for fifth place on Sunday (NZT Monday).
The Americans qualified for the fifth place playoff by beating Australia 23-20. They kicked a late penalty to break a 20-all deadlock.
New Zealand, four-times champions, had their defence of the cup ended by an upset 17-14 loss to Ireland in pool play.
Their heartache was exacerbated later today when they watched Ireland humbled 40-7 by England in their semifinal.
England will play Canada in the final after the Canadians beat France 18-16 in today's other semifinal.
The Black Ferns' lack of performance when it mattered at this tournament was reflected in the absence of any of their players being nominated for the IRB's player of the year award.
Ireland fullback Niamh Briggs, France No 8 Safi N'Diaye and Canadian duo, captain Kelly Russell and wing Magali Harvey, have been shortlisted for the award.
The management of the 12 teams at World Cup and commentators voted for their top three players after each round with votes tallied to provide the four finalists. The winner would be announced on Monday after the World Cup final.
New Zealand 64 (Shakira Baker 4, Selica Winiata 2, Aroha Savage, Linda Itunu, Honey Hireme, Rawina Everitt, Amira Rule tries; Kendra Cocksedge 3 con, Kelly Brazier con) Wales 7 (Sioned Harries try; Robyn Wilkins con)