The Buildcorp Wallaroos have fallen to the defending World Champions England 53-10 in their opening match of the International Rugby Series at Jerry Collins Stadium in Porirua, Wellington on Friday.
The Red Roses with 839 Test caps of experience to Australia’s 90, outscored the Wallaroos nine tries to one, with captain Ashleigh Hewson crossing for the Wallaroos’ only try.
Buildcorp Wallaroos Head Coach Paul Verrell said: “I thought we had a solid start, I couldn’t have asked for more from the team.
“The way we scored the first try with back-to-back phases shows we have the ability to compete but we need to be able to do it for 80 minutes.
“Patience is a key factor, we seemed to rush things. If we can maintain position and be patient we can score points.”
With six debutants named in the starting XV and another five in the reserves, Verrell was pleased with the way the new additions adapted to the demands of Women’s Test Rugby.
“I thought they stepped up. They got involved in the game and competed well and they’re only going to get better from that.
“Our scrum needs to do more work, when we tightened up at half-time we improved. Our line-out was fairly good, but it is a matter of being able to perform throughout the game and provide a platform for us to play off.
“Now that those young girls have played that first test match, they understand the level we need to be at. We’ve got two more Tests in New Zealand then a six-week lead-in at home before we head to Ireland.”
Captain Ash Hewson got the Wallaroos off to a solid start, scoring next to the posts in the fourth minute of the match. She converted her own try to give Australia an early 7-nil lead.
England answered back five minutes later through Izzy Noel-Smith, fullback Emily Scott converted the try to level the score at 7-all.
England scored two tries in quick succession in the 21st and 27th minute through Abbie Scott and Sarah McKenna, extending the Red Roses’ lead to 19-7.
Hewson slotted a penalty in the 35th minute to narrow the margin to 19-10, but a converted try through England winger Kay Wilson saw the Wallaroos trailing 26-10 at half-time.
England was the first to score in the second half through Vicki Fleetwood, extending the Red Roses’ lead to 31-10 in the 44th minute.
Harriet Millar-Mills was next to score for England in the 51st minute, before McKenna crossed for her second 58th minute, leaving Australia trailing 48-10.
Wilson crossed for her second try of the afternoon at the 63-minute mark, but it would be McKenna who would have the final say of the game, scoring her third and securing at hat-trick in the 80th minute to secure the 53-10 win for England.
The Wallaroos next match will see them take on New Zealand’s Black Ferns at Christchurch’s Rugby Park on Tuesday, June 13. Kick-off at 12:35 pm AEST.
Australia 10 (Ashleigh Hewson try; Ash Hewson con; Ash Hewson pen) defeated by England 53 (Sarah McKenna 3, Kay Wilson 2, Izzy Noel-Smith, Abbie Scott, Vicki Fleetwood, Harriet Millar-Mills tries; Emily Scott 4 cons)