New Zealand got their World Cup preparations back on track as they came from behind to beat Australia 23-10 in the Pacific Four Series. The Black Ferns lost to France and England in 2021 before a culture review led to a coaching overhaul. A new-look side featuring seven debutants fell 10-0 behind but fought back to give New Zealand hope of a successful home World Cup this autumn. In the opening Pacific Four match, Canada beat the United States 36-5.
New Zealand did not play a Test for two years because of the coronavirus pandemic meaning that, combined with the defeats in 2021, the win against Australia is their first victory since 2019.
It is also the side’s first victory since men’s World Cup-winning coaches Wayne Smith and Graham Henry were brought in to the women’s coaching set-up.
The Pacific Four Series, hosted by New Zealand, continues on Sunday when the United States play Australia (01:15 BST) and the Black Ferns face Canada (3:45 BST).
New Zealand and Australia will both compete in Pool A in the delayed 2021 World Cup – which begins in October – alongside Wales and Scotland.
Australia have never beaten the Black Ferns, who have won five of the last six World Cups.