Black Ferns thrash USA at Soldier Field

Cheree Kinnear, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sunday, 4 November 2018, 1:27PM
Renee Wickliffe was amongst the team who claimed the 67-6 win. (Photo / Photosport)
Renee Wickliffe was amongst the team who claimed the 67-6 win. (Photo / Photosport)

The Black Ferns have kicked off their Northern tour in style.

Setting the scene for a historic triple header at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sunday, the Black Ferns dominated the USA Eagles 67-6.

And it was debutant Ayesha Leti-I'iga who was the cherry on top of a great overall New Zealand performance.

After being denied a try earlier in the game for a forward pass, the young 19-year-old, who earned her spot after an outstanding Farah Palmer Cup Championship campaign, pushed her way through a tight USA defence to secure her first test match try in the final seconds of the clash.

Fellow Wellingtonian, 20-year-old Monica Tagoai, also made her debut off the bench.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili said the win was a great way to top an amazing week in Chicago and praised her team's family-like culture for their strong performance.

"You couldn't ask for anything more from our girls… we are all one. The starters build the pressure and then the warriors come on and finish it off," Faamausili said.

"We worked really well together, there's a lot of respect in our team ... it's great having the young ones come through because they bring a lot of energy and then you've got the calm heads, which is the senior players, to work alongside them. It's a partnership and it's only going to grow."

Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore was pleased with his side's performance and looked forward to the team's next clash against France.

"I think we know that we've got a lot more in us yet ... we're aware that we've got a six-day turnaround, a long flight, however, we've got a lot of things in place we think will put us in a good position when we get there," Moore said.

"We're confident in our abilities that we can win that match, we're excited about the challenge."

The Black Ferns took immediate control of the game with Aldora Itunu scoring the first try in the second minute.

The Eagles got on the scoreboard with two penalties but were no match for the Black Ferns' steady rhythm, both on attack and defence, backed up by a strong start with three early tries from lineout drives - a tactic the home side struggled to combat.

Black Ferns vice-captain Kendra Cocksedge was on form to secure the first few conversions but struggled in the second half with some tricky sideline kicks.

However, the veteran halfback played a vital role in the Ferns' performance, scoring New Zealand's eighth try, as she led from the front alongside her inspirational captain.

The triple header also saw the New Zealand Māori clash against the USA and the Six Nations test between Ireland and Italy.

Black Ferns 67 (Eloise Blackwell 2, Renee Wickliffe 2, Aldora Itunu, Chelsea Alley, Fiao'o Faamausili, Selica Winiata, Kendra Cocksedge, Stacey Waaka, Ayesha Leti-I'iga tries; Cocksedge 5 con, Ruahei Demant con) USA Eagles 6 (Kimber Rozier 2 pen) HT: 26-6 Black Ferns


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