Black Ferns open Women's Rugby World Cup campaign with big victory over Wales
Selica Winiata scored a hat-trick of tries as the Black Ferns thrashed Wales 44-12 in their opening match at the Women's Rugby World Cup.
Renee Wickliffe crossed twice, while Stacey Waaka, Portia Woodman and Eloise Blackwell also scored in the eight-try Pool A domination at Billings Park in Dublin on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time).
The one downside was a poor kicking game from halfback Kendra Cocksedge, who was also yellow-carded in the 66th minute for an intentional knock-down, converting only 2-of-7 conversions.
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Winiata opened the scoring in the eighth minute after some fine set-up work from Woodman, then Waaka doubled the lead in the 22nd minute.
After a consolidated period of attack from Wales, the Black Ferns were able to turn the ball over and after a long break-out, Wickliffe was on the end of the line to score the first of her two tries in the 38th minute. She added her second with an intercept and 80m sprint after time was up in the first half.
Woodman sprinted over out wide in the 52nd minute, before Blackwell got on the board for the hard-working forwards in the 56th minute, with Cocksedge's first conversion of the match giving New Zealand a 32-0 lead.
The Black Ferns didn't have it all their own way, with Wales' strong forwards play rewarded in the 61st minute when No 8 Sioned Harries crashed over. Winiata scored her second to restore the 32-point lead before Cocksedge was sin-binned, with Melissa Clay scoring from the ensuing lineout and drive, which Wales used effectively throughout.
Winiata found herself unmarked on the outside in the 74th minute to finish off her hat-trick with a short sprint to the line.
The Black Ferns next face Hong Kong on Sunday (11pm NZT), before their final Pool A match against Canada next Thursday (11pm NZT).
Black Ferns 44 (Selica Winiata 3, Renee Wickliffe 2, Stacey Waaka, Portia Woodman, Eloise Blackwell tries; Kendra Cocksedge 2 con) Wales 12 (Sioned Harries, Melissa Clay tries; Elinor Snowsill con). HT: 20-0