New Zealand have confirmed their spot in the semi-finals of the women’s World Cup following a 34-4 victory over the Cook Islands yesterday.
Kiwi Ferns were far from their best and never left second gear, though they
still possessed enough quality to pick up their second win of the tournament.
the result, the Cook Islands certainly made their nation proud. Mackenzie Wiki
stamped her name into the record books with a second half try.
facing the three-time world champions wasn’t daunting enough, the Cook Islands
were forced to do so without their captain.
Breayley-Nati was taken off in the first minute of the match after receiving a
nasty blow to the head in her attempt to bring down Amber Hall.
the massive setback, the Cook Islands battled on and even went on the
offensive. A strong attacking set in the third minute culminated with a
dangerous grubber kick from Kere Mutua – one which was ultimately dealt with by
their opening match of the tournament, the Kiwi Ferns made a notable slow start
against France and a similar scenario was developing against their Pacific
while the Cook Islands matched their opponents with heart, they were inevitably
unravelled by quality.
Zealand open scoring
opening try certainly epitomised that as Raecene McGregor picked up the ball 25
metres out and produced two outstanding dummies before crashing over.
minutes later, it was individual quality from Krystal Rota which forced the
breakthrough. The Kiwi Ferns captain picked up the ball from dummy half and
powered her way over to make it 8-0.
Cook Islands stopped the rot. For the next 15 minutes, they did a good job of
keeping New Zealand at bay.
the 2017 runners-up were able to find another try before the break, with
McGregor displaying her speed and strength after forcing her way through two
Cook Island players.
Zealand’s slow start to the first half was replicated after the restart as
their opponents desperately searched for their first try of the tournament.
despite being parked on the Kiwi Ferns 10 metre line for a solid eight minutes,
the breakthrough never came for the Pacific outfit.
it was once again the quality of New Zealand which saw them bag their fourth
effort of the match. McGregor was the try scorer after dummying her way over
from close range.
Kiwi Ferns then improved their lead to 22-0 as Ricky Henry’s side turned up the
heat. New Zealand shifted the ball out wide with Shanice Parker finding
eventual scorer Mele Hufanga.
Islands make history
the Cook Islands were never going to mount a comeback, they were still desperate
to make history. To the delight of the crowd, that’s exactly what they did.
thunderous break from Anneka Stephens saw her make 30 metres from the halfway
line. Cook Islands continued to press; and they were soon in rugby league
heaven as Matua’s grubber kick into the corner was finished off by Mackenzie
Wiki – the first try scorer for the Cook Islands at the tournament.
Zealand enjoyed a strong finish to the match with Mele Hufanga going over for
her second and Annetta Nu’uausala chipping in on the 80th minute mark.
Kiwi Ferns may be through to the semi-finals, though it’s the Cook Islands who
will remember this match for a long time to come.
Zealand: Parker; Hufanga, Ormond-Maunsell, P McGregor, Bartlett; Albert-Jones,
R McGregor; Hill-Moana, Rota, Nu’uausala, Pule, Hall, Scanlan. Subs: Maynard,
Clark, Tamarua, Stowers.
R McGregor (2), Rota, Hall, Hufanga (2), Nu’uausala Goals: Clark 3