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Kiwi Ferns Go Unbeaten Into World Cup Final

PRESS RELEASE - ON BEHALF OF THE KIWI FERNS

Kiwi Ferns Go Unbeaten Into World Cup Final

Batley, UK, July 11, 2013 – The Kiwi Ferns go into Monday morning’s Rugby League World Cup final undefeated, having this morning (July 12, NZ-time) beaten Australia 14-6 in Batley, UK.

The match was a preview of the final, with both teams having already qualified before today’s match. That meant cards were kept fairly close to chests and defence became a real feature.

The Australians went out to a 6-0 lead, before Amber Hall, the young Kiwi Ferns prop with the silky skills, scored. Geneva Webber converted to leave things level at half-time. In the second half, the Kiwi girls held the Australians scoreless, as Honey Hireme – who has scored seven tries so far in the tournament – and Nora Maaka crossed the line. That left the Kiwi Ferns’ coach Lynley Tierney-Mani feeling reasonably happy going into Monday morning’s final.

“It was a really good test match,” said Tierney-Mani. “Our completion rate wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but we stuck to our plan of giving every player in the squad a match in the tournament and that has given us some nice selection headaches for the final.”

Hall was among a trio of Kiwi rookies putting their hand up today. “Amber has become a crowd favourite at the tournament,” says Tierney-Mani. “People are turning up just to watch her play. And Kahurangi Peters and Charlotte Scanlon are looking like seasoned veterans, despite this being just their first campaign with the Kiwi Ferns.

Sarina Fiso was one of the established players to shine in the Kiwi backline today. “The Australians play a quick game,” she said “but I think we matched them for speed and we had the edge for physicality. Our forwards won the game today, with players like Charlotte and Kahurangi getting through a lot of work.”

The halves were another area where the Kiwi girls did well through Rona Peters, who is Kahurangi’s big sister, and Maaka. “Rona has been reading things so well defensively,” says Fiso, “and Nora was exceptional today. But she had big shoes to fill.”

Those shoes belonged to Laura Mariu, the three-time World Cup winner who was ruled out of the tournament after the game against England. She watched today with her arm in a cast. 

The Kiwi Ferns have a couple of days to regroup now before their shot at a fourth straight World Cup final win. That match against the Australian Jillaroos kicks-off at 12.45am Monday (NZ-time). 

Kiwi Ferns v Australia
6pm, July 11 (UK time)
Love Rugby League.com Stadium, Batley
Kiwi Ferns 14 – Australia 6

Kiwi Ferns tries: Amber Hall, Honey Hireme, Nora Maaka
Conversions: Geneva Webber (1)
Total: 3 tries, 1 conversion.

The Kiwi Ferns v Australia were:
1. Tasha Tapu, 2. Geneva Webber, 3. Honey Hireme (Capt), 4. Sarina Fiso, 5. Chanelle Wright, 6. Nora Maaka, 7. Rona Peters, 8. Annabelle Hohepa, 9. Lisa Campbell, 10. Maryanne Hemara, 11. Kathleen Keremete, 12. Charlotte Scanlon, 13. Kahurangi Peters, 14. Simone Panapa, 15. Amber Hall, 16. Aimee Gilbert, 17. Kelly Maipi, 18. Akenese Pereira

KIWI FERNS WORLD CUP DRAW (UK times shown)

1.45pm Sunday, July 14 – Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
World Cup Final

WOMEN’S RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP FINALS:

2000     Kiwi Ferns 26, Great Britain 4
2003     Kiwi Ferns 58, New Zealand Maori 0
2008     Kiwi Ferns 34, Australia 0

ENDS

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