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The players set to profit from Wales' new gameplan

With the Pivac era now a distant memory, Warren Gatland has a rich seam of talent to select from in the Six Nations

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Black Ferns player ratings v Wales | 2021 Rugby World Cup

By Ned Lester
Portia Woodman gets chased down after a line-break for the Black Ferns. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

The Black Ferns and Wales battled in the second quarter-final of the 2021 Rugby World Cup, with the Kiwis claiming a 55-3 victory.

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The teams met in pool play just two weeks ago and this game followed a similar formula – that being the Black Ferns spreading it wide and scoring at will. The Welsh scrum was a strong feature in the last test but didn’t show up this time around, limiting the¬†Welsh strengths and capacity for game management even further.

As usual, The Black Ferns’ backline showed out, every player showed their class and ability to beat the one-on-one tackle and Portia Woodman claimed the record for most tries scored in World Cup history.

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A quarter-final exit brings to a close a spirited Welsh World Cup campaign while the Black Ferns will face a new level of challenge when they play France in the Semi-Final next weekend.

Here’s how the Black Ferns rated in the win:

1. Pip Love – 7/10

The Kiwi scrum certainly had power, controlling it was the issue. Love was New Zealand’s strongest performer at the breakdown out of the starting unit.

2. Georgia Ponsonby – 6

A quiet night for Ponsonby, she had limited impact around the park but had the line-out functioning well.

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3. Amy Rule – 7

Charged at the defence fiercely, earning a try for her efforts. Wasn’t used as a ball carrier much and didn’t find herself around the ruck for the pick-and-go or short ball like we’ve seen from her in recent games.

4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos – 6

Wasn’t able to provide the same dynamic display as last weekend but led her team in tackles.

5. Chelsea Bremner – 6.5

Great lineout disruption to start the game. Her skill-set with tip balls in close makes her the go-to distributor in the tight channels. The Black Ferns’ forwards woeful efforts to claim possession on the kick off’s are a real concern and could be targeted by France.

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6. Alana Bremner – 5.5

Showed the fitness and work rate to contribute to the high-paced game. Physicality at the breakdown is lacking and will be a concern moving forward.

7. Sarah Hirini – 6

Uncharacteristically ill-disciplined early, gifting Wales their first points of the game and some further territorial advantage. Showed uncanny strength to score in the corner but wasn’t on the park quite long enough to truly find her rhythm.

8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u – 5

Didn’t provide the energy or physicality needed at the breakdown. Found a burst of enthusiasm late but was still passive in the contact at times.

9. Kendra Cocksedge – 9

Excellent as always. A constant threat, her sniping runs broke Wales’ tight defence early. Her few box kicks were purposeful and well-executed.

10. Ruahei Demant – 5

A far better showing off the boot. Otherwise, a shaky outing with ball in hand with kicks landing straight in the Welsh hands which lost her team both possession and territory. Luckily, even a poorly executed crosskick results in a try with Woodman and Tui on the receiving end.

11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga – 7

Showed real capacity for making meters, but not quite the composure to finish the play. Can’t fault her enthusiasm with ball in hand, just wasn’t given the space to make the plays we know she’s capable of.

12. Theresa Fitzpatrick – 8

Hit just the right angle every time she ran at the line, engaged the line well to free her backs, executing all but one pass. Voted player of the match.

13. Stacey Fluhler – 9

It takes Fluhler just a split second to hit the gas and burn her opposition. Her defensive anticipation and timing was spot on. Incredible fluency as a distributor.

14. Portia Woodman – 9

Her one-on-one skills certainly aren’t restricted to attack. Now holds the well-deserved title of leading try scorer in World Cup history. The forwards could learn a thing or two from Woodman’s drive when attacking the breakdown.

15. Ruby Tui – 8

Tui doesn’t get quite the same number of touches at fullback but she makes the most of them. Her presence on the pitch is huge for the team and her energy will prove crucial to the Black Ferns’ title aspirations.

Reserves

16. Luka Connor – 9

Wasted no time in scoring a try just a few minutes into her night, then again late. Her leg drive is a real weapon that could well find more usage in the coming game(s). Had a real fire and intensity and let the Welsh know about it.

17. Krystal Murray – 8.5

The second unit’s scrum was immense, marching the Welsh pack backwards at a pace that could be described as a light jog.

18. Santo Taumata – 9

Provided huge energy and strength off the bench, if Smith chooses to persist with this front row as the second unit, they make for one hell of a bomb squad.

19. Joanah Ngan-Woo – 8.5

Huge impact when she came on and ran at the Welsh line harder than anyone else.

20. Kennedy Simon – 8

Showed true class in her few minutes, her work around the park and especially the breakdown deserves more minutes.

21. Ariana Bayler – 6

A quiet performance, distributed well but wasn’t quite up for the pace of the game.

22. Hazel Tubic – 6

Made the most of her one carry.

23. Renee Holmes – 7

Made her tackles but missed her conversion attempts.

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