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Women's Rugby World Cup 2017

Hong Kong feel full force of powerful New Zealand in 121-0 thrashing at Women’s Rugby World Cup

Jo Hull’s side no match for second-ranked Black Ferns as star winger Portia Woodman runs in eight tries

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 August, 2017, 10:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 August, 2017, 12:04am

Hong Kong can look forward to Thursday’s clash with Wales knowing they are surely through the worst of it at the Women’s Rugby World Cup after Sunday’s 121-0 mauling at the hands of New Zealand.

The Black Ferns were on the board within the first minute in Dublin and scored 19 tries on the back of a phenomenal eight-try performance from winger Portia Woodman.

New Zealand often crossed unimpeded against a Hong Kong side coach Jo Hull says must find a way to contain their opponents in their remaining matches.

“Again we let them get momentum and I was disappointed that we kept making the same mistakes there, so that is something we will look at,” she said.

“Wales are up there, Wales caused these guys [New Zealand] some problems so we’re certainly not underestimating them in any way, shape or form.”

Hong Kong defended gallantly in close and often punched above their weight at the breakdown, but a host of missed tackles once New Zealand worked the ball wide proved costly for Hull’s side.

“We played against world-beaters and when they got the ball in their hands and moved it wide, we just couldn’t stop them,” Hull said. “Credit to them, they came on and played the game they wanted to play.”

The first half saw nine tries and some superb passing by the Kiwis, with a try-saving tackle from scrum half Jessica Ho Wai-on one of the highlights for Hong Kong.

Natasha Olson-Thorne refused to take a backward step and was at the heart of Hong Kong’s most promising attacking push of the half, slipping a tackle and giving the Black Ferns something to think about.

It was 57-0 at the break and the second half began in identical fashion to the first, with New Zealand scoring within the first minute through prop Sosoli Talawadua.

The Black Ferns had extended their lead to 69-0 when Hong Kong embarked on their best 10-minute period of the game, taking it right up to the world’s second-ranked side.

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Olson-Thorne again split the Kiwi defence after a deft pass from Kelsie Bouttle, Chong Ka-yan was lively on her wing and, although it didn’t lead to a try, the spurt showed that Hull’s side won’t lay down regardless of the circumstances.

“I think that we caused them a few problems at the breakdown and we survived the scrum, which was a big one for us,” Hull said.

“We did a lot of our basic jobs OK but you can’t play against a world-class team like that without making mistakes.”

Dai Rees, the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s chief rugby operations officer, hopes the fact Hull has been able to give game time to her whole squad in the opening two matches will ensure they are as prepared as possible for the clash with 10th-ranked Wales.

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“Hopefully Jo will be in a position to pick her strongest team out of the two games and now all of them have been exposed to this level and know what to expect,” he said.

“Lets not think it’s the easiest game because we will come unstuck if we do. Wales are a good team and they have proved that, they have got one of the best backlines in the tournament.”