Black Ferns storm into Rugby World Cup Final
Christian Bonnevie 23 Aug 2017 Getty Images
QUICK TAP: MEET BLACK FERNS LOOSE FORWARD LESLEY KETU
The first half was full of quality rugby, with the ruck defence of both sides a standout as the forwards took turns knocking shades off each other.
When the Black Ferns scored through first-five Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali off their first attacking raid in only the second minute the strong red, white and blue support crew in the crowd might have feared the worse.
That try saw the Black Ferns trail for the first time this tournament, though not for long as standout openside Sarah Goss got over the ball to force another ruck penalty that halfback Kendra Cocksedge duly converted.
Woodman then set the game alight once more when she ran from blind to open on a 45m attacking scrum and beat five defenders on a scorching run to dive under the posts and extend the lead to 15 - 7. At that point 25 minutes in New Zealand had made twice as many carries as the US and were showing a willingness to get in the grind, using the pick and go effectively to tire out their opponents.
The Black Ferns had shown all tournament their ability to burst out of the sheds of each half and they did it again to grow their buffer when a lengthy period of attack led to second-five Kelly Brazier sliding in a grubber that fullback Selica Winiata burst onto before offloading on the ground to Woodman to dive over in the corner.
The #BlackFerns have paid tribute to Sir Colin Meads, wearing black armbands and taking a moment of silence following the Haka. #NZLvUSA pic.twitter.com/i7nrY44AWl— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) August 22, 2017
That try was as good as it got for the US however, as the Black Ferns took control and the Woodman show carried on, first when some stunning quick hands from Brazier put her into space and then when she skinned her opposite to cross untouched.
Two late tries to replacement hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, who found herself in the tramlines reeling in a cross kick, and a solo effort from player of the match Brazier put a big exclamation mark on a strong performance. The final now awaits, against either England or France.
FT | The #BlackFerns have secured a place in the Rugby World Cup final with a 45 - 12 win over USA!#NZLvUSA #WRWC2017 pic.twitter.com/qV6saxueDh— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) August 22, 2017