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Black Ferns player ratings vs England | Rugby World Cup 2021

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

England raced out to a 14-0 lead after tries to Ellie Kildunne and Amy Cokayne as the forwards took apart the Black Ferns, but a red card just 18 minutes into the game gave the Ferns a glimmer of hope.

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The maul was unstoppable from England as they rolled over three first half tries from it.

New Zealand’s run-it-from-deep strategy backfired in the first half under the pressure of too many errors at the wrong end of the field, giving England prime territory to use the maul.

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When they got into their rhythm they troubled England late in the first half who were down to 14 players. The toll proved too much as the Ferns fought their way to a famous 34-31 win.

How the Black Ferns rated:

1. Phillipa Love – 7
Cood strong carries early and industrious work at the breakdown. Maul defence was an obvious problem but the Ferns responded with two of their own well-executed rolling maul tries.

2. Georgia Ponsonby – 8
Penalised early for going off feet allowing England to kick to the corner and score their first maul try. Responded in perfect fashion, nailed an absolutely crucial lineout throw to the tail after the red card and scored a maul try of her own.

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Throwing was on the money through the first half making some great pressure throws, particularly on New Zealand’s maul tries.

3. Amy Rule – 7
Carried strongly when asked. Was one the Ferns’ best ballcarriers. Picked up a key maul try to finish the first half. Off at 63min

4. Maiakawanakaukani Roos – 6
Had some strong carries when the Black Ferns got into their patterns. Bad mix-up after the restart to hand back England a key attacking opportunity which led to their second maul try. Off at 64 min.

5. Chelsea Bremner – 7
Carried into tough defence early but found some momentum. Was reliable in the air for the Ferns line out. Found it tough going in close quarters but kept fighting all the way through.

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6. Alana Bremner – 7
Was a solid lineout target but had an errant pass coming out of her own end that put the Black Ferns under pressure again coming out of their own end which was indicative of the early struggles.

7. Sarah Hirini – 7
Had some good moments in support. Competed hard at the breakdown for no reward. Was everywhere for the Ferns in securing their rucks, and everywhere in defence making 10 tackles. Was an understated performance from the openside.

8. Charmaine McMenamin – 7
Lead from the front in defence with some hard tackles early making seven from seven, offering some punch to the Black Ferns pack that found it tough.

Forward Pack
Gritty performance with a never-give-up attitude that fought hard for their team despite being under immense pressure at set-piece. They didn’t have an answer for the maul until midway through the second half as England began to falter down to 14 and reinforcements came from the New Zealand bench.

The ruck was a problem in the first half as England turned over key ball but they kept plugging away and they began to string some phases together after some errant execution errors. Handling improved and the pack played brilliant passes in contact.

9. Kendra Cocksedge – 8
Good tempo from the ruck for the Black Ferns in the first half and showed her leadership in the second half. Turned the screws on in the second forty with smart kicking to find space in England’s backfield. Great game management from the experienced No 9.

10. Ruahei Demant – 7
Looked to offload frequently with success and really went into contact hard, challenging the line with strong running. Kicked to space really well creating an early chance for Ruby Tui, made a few errors but led the Ferns attack and continued to be bold when it counted.

11. Portia Woodman – N/A
Made New Zealand’s first break down a tight left edge on a kick return. Had a second line break moments later to set Eden Park alive but was brought down by excellent coverage by England. Night was over in 17th minute after an awkward tackle leading to a red card for England.

Was having a great game and a shame that her night ended early.

12. Theresa Fitzpatrick – 7
Great link pass over the top for Renee Holmes leading Leti-I’iga to score the Ferns second. Had some great footwork and threatening runs every time she touched the ball. Put through a brilliant grubber kick for Stacey Fluhler to snatch onto.

13. Stacey Fluhler – 9.5
The outside centre starred in the second half with two incredible moment. Her night started slow before getting a good charge down after England’s second try. Came into the game late in the first half with some brilliant runs.

Fluhler ignited the second half with a brilliant run to open the second half to score within 30 seconds to send Eden Park into mayhem. Another brilliant try assist after latching onto a grubber was key in the second half.

14. Ruby Tui – 7
First touch was a key win in the air on the restart to lift the Ferns from a bad start. Inspired her team by giving her all when she had rare touches. Beat defenders but her influence on the game was bringing composure and stability to the back line.

15. Renee Holmes – 9
Another star for the Ferns on a magical night although things started badly, her first kick return was turned over allowing England to go straight onto attack and had more jitters on the second.

She settled into the game and came up with some massive plays for the Ferns. Showed quick hands on the try to Leti-I’iga and then banged one over from the sideline.

A brilliant intercept try ruled out after England judged to not have played out advantage. Was a huge moment in the final that could have gone against the Ferns.

Holmes was great in support for another key involvement to set up Stacey Fluhler for the try of the final just moments into the second half.

Replacements:
16. Luka Connor – 6 – Brought some big carries into the game.
17. Krystal Murray – 7 – Had immediate impact by scoring with her first touch of the game with a powerful carry down the left-hand side.
18. Santo Taumata – 6 – On at 62min. The pack delivered when it counted to finally stop a maul on the goal line.
19. Joanah Ngan-Woo – 6 – Made three from three tackles in a short cameo.
20 Kennedy Simon – 7 Massive cover tackle on Abby Dow saved the Ferns from a dangerous replica of England’s try against Canada. Brought impact with four from four tackles and helped disarm England in the final moments.
22. Hazel Tubic – N/A
23. Ayesha Leti-I’iga – 7 – Came on early for Woodman after 18 minutes. Scored off a set-piece but had a key drop cold from a long Zoey Harrison kick. Another wild pass didn’t come off on a kick return, but she provided impact and had a positive influence on the game for the Ferns.

 

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