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Fatigue plagues the Wallaroos in the wet as the chance for a historic win eludes them

Australia’s quest for a win over New Zealand failed as the Wallaroos lost 23-10 in a rainy Test in Tauranga.

Lining up for their first clash in the Pacific Four series, which also involves Canada and the United States, the Aussies led the Black Ferns at half-time for the first time in their 20 Test history dating back to 1994.

But they failed to turn their 10-5 lead into a first victory.

New coach Jay Tregonning’s performance bodes well for the future, however, with the teams set to meet in their opening World Cup match in New Zealand on October 8.

“We stuck to our game plan for about 60 minutes but fatigue set in,” Wallaroos skipper Shannon Parry said.

“The Kiwis, they make you pay, and they did this to us today, but I’m really proud of the girls’ effort to hold on until the end.

Shannon Parry of Australia charges forward during the 2022 Pacific Four Series game between New Zealand’s Black Ferns and Australia’s Wallaroos at Tauranga Estate. (Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

“We’ve improved a lot and it’s about getting ready for the World Cup…this young and inexperienced team are making giant strides.”

The Aussies got off to the best possible start, with their forwards dominating the early exchanges.

Their most capped player, Liz Patu, made it on the first down after the Wallaroos put the pressure on with their pick-and-go.

Lori Cramer added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

The visitors had 79 per cent territory after 20 minutes as the Black Ferns struggled to build momentum but were unable to translate that into enough points.

A penalty from Cramer made it 10-0, but the Kiwis entered the table in the 31st minute when Kendra Cocksedge took a quick kick and winger Ayesha Leti-I’iga dived.

Half-back Cocksedge, who became the most capped Black Fern on his 58th Test, was unable to convert.

With seven debutants in their squad, New Zealand began to find their feet after half-time with a new front line pushing them forward.

After being denied a try for an illegal liaison, flanker Alana Bremner made no mistake in the 48th minute to lock the game 10-10.

The home side then took the lead as No.8 Kaipo Olsen-Baker broke through the defense and stormed down the line.

As Cocksedge missed the conversion, she added a 60th-minute penalty that put the lead at eight points.

Leti-I’iga then scored his fourth try after full time to cap a brave fightback for the Black Ferns.

In the previous match, Canada outscored the United States 36-5.

Sports Grp2

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