venue: Tetley's Stadium, Batley
5th July 2013
Full Match Report
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP GROUP STAGE
New Zealand Women kicked off their Women's World Cup campaign with a handsome 88-0 win over France at the Tetley’s Stadium earlier today.
The French put up a valiant effort but couldn’t handle the sheer attacking prowess of the tournament favourites, with Honey Hireme, dubbed 'Honey Bill Williams', their stand out player and leading scorer with five tries to her name.
It was Sarina Fiso that opened the scoring early on after a good pass from Rona Peters found her in space and the scrum-half had no problem crossing the line to give New Zealand their first try after just four minutes. Lisa Campbell couldn’t convert the resulting kick and the score stayed at 4-0.
The New Zealanders seemed spurred on by their early success and began dominating quickly. Their dominance paid off when Hireme skipped over the line with ten minutes gone to increase the Ferns’ lead. This time Campbell comfortably kicked the extra two points.
Hireme was at it again just a few minutes later when she put the ball down for her second try of the game. Once again the inconsistent Campbell couldn’t convert.
The Ferns were made to wait for their next try but when it came it was Hireme again that went over to seal her hat trick and give New Zealand a comfortable lead. Tries from Karley Te Kawaand Nora Maaka added to the French misery before half time.
Kona Peters and Campbell missed and scored their attempts at a conversion, respectively as the Ferns went into the break 30-0 up.
Any chance of France mounting a comeback was quickly quashed when the play restarted. Just like in the first half it was Fiso that was first over the line but this time it was Laura Mariu’s turn to spurn the chance to add the extra two points.
The New Zealanders had found their rhythm by this point and were not showing any signs of slowing down. Quick fire tries from Campbell, Amber Hall and Te Kawa increased the Ferns’ lead.
Mariu kicked four of an available six points before going over herself and converting again to make the score 54-0.
Lynley Tierney-Mani’s team had no intention of letting up and their persistence paid off with Hireme getting her fourth and fifth tries of the game before Kahurangi Peters made it 15 tries in all for the Ferns. Mariu successfully converted on both occasions, giving the women in black a 72-0 lead.
Proceedings hadn’t finished yet though. With just seven minutes to go Te Kawa completed her hat trick but Mariuonce again couldn’t convert.
In the dying minutes of the match Kelly Maipi broke through the French defence to become the tenth player to add their name to the scoreboard followed by Kathleen Keremete. Mariu rounded off her kicking duties with successful conversions to make it 88-0.
“The girls were pretty good,” said New Zealand coach Tierney-Mani. “We’re at a pretty good level right now.There’s still lots and lots of work to do but the girls did each other proud.”
Tierney-Mani also had a lot of praise for her top scorer, Honey Hireme.
“She’s a good player but she’s also a great person and leads the team well,” she said. “It was just great for us to get a bit of a head out for the girls and now we start looking at the next game.”
New Zealand’s next opponents are England on Monday; a big game for both sides.
Fiso, Tapu, Hireme, Collins, Te Kawa, Maaka, Peters, Maipi, Woodman, Pereira, Keremete, Campbell, Pereira, Peters, Panapa, Mariu, Hall, Webber
Ciria, Miorin, Guigue, Jean, Degas, Varela, Zaghdoudiz, Decarnin, Mraidi, Signoret, Benchoug, Cousseau, Lenet, Bentley, Maurouard, Lacoste, Mikalef, Delas, Fauvelle, Campanella, Lloria, Pitana, Boina