Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
There is no denying that the whole of New Zealand went into total darkness after last weekend’s disappointing results across three sports codes.
Throw into the mix the “aura” the general elections had generated and there was so much unresolved tension lingering that needed to be answered.
So, as the Kiwis took to the field in Hamilton against the Kangaroos for the Pacific Nations Cup title, and the Black Ferns went to war with old foes England, there was a lot of redemption needed for our players in black.
And while the Kiwis responded by demolishing the Kangaroos, handing them a 30 to nil drubbing, the Black Ferns fell short against England in what was essentially a rematch of last year’s Women’s World Cup final.
Leading from the front for the Kiwis was Warriors fullback Charnze Nicoll Klokstad who was immense in both attack and defence. Charnze, who was also awarded Player of the Match, played a pivotal role in setting up tries for his outside backs.
Australia, who pride themselves on their strength upfront, were left wondering what had hit them as the Kiwis barged their way through the front door leaving them to back-pedal..
Both wingers Jamayne Isaako and Ronaldo Mulitalo held their ground on their ends, with each player dotting down for tries and bringing up some game-changing plays throughout the match.
Redemption wasn’t meant to be for the Black Ferns, as they struggled against a strong English forward pack.
Despite a spirited fight back in the second half, the early 19-0 lead by England proved to be a huge advantage for the majority of the match.
After narrowly losing last year at Eden Park for the Women’s World Cup final, England were happy enough to take the win and the WXV1 title as reward for their efforts this season.
Some instinctive play and individual flair seemed to be the go-to move for the Ferns as impact player Katylin Vaha’akolo crossed over in the corner after some brilliant backline work.
And not all was a loss for Black Ferns as Vaha’akolo was awarded the Women’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award during the formalities at the end of the match. Six Black Ferns players were also named in the World Rugby Women’s team of the year.