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NZ women down South Africa in Rio friendly

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/07/2016

The Football Ferns have thrashed South Africa 4-1 less than a week out from their opening game against USA at the Rio Olympics.

The New Zealand outfit bagged two goals in each half to outclass their opponents in what will be a confidence booster before their match against the world No.1 in Belo Horizonte.

Amber Hearn and Hannah Wilkinson put the world's No.17-ranked side 2-0 ahead at halftime before Annalie Longo and Sarah Gregorius completed the scoring.

Head coach Tony Readings said the Football Ferns' pre-Olympic training camp had worked wonders but his side wouldn't rest on their laurels before the Games begin.

"It's been nice to spend a lot more quality time with the team, specifically with them coming from all parts of the world," Readings said.

"To spend this time training, to play a match, get a chance to review it and then put some learning into action before our first game is invaluable."

Readings said all players had come through the training camp fit and firing, with no injury niggles to report.

The side will have a final night in Rio's Olympic Village before leaving for Belo Horizonte on Friday to take on the Americans.

The game was also significant for other reasons, with veteran midfielder Kirsty Yallop earning her 100th cap and defender Rebekah Stott obtaining her 50th.

The 29-year-old Yallop said reaching a century of caps was an honour.

"We could've put a few more goals away but it was good to get the win," Yallop said.

"I'm fairly excited and happy to earn my 100th cap."

Readings said the Sweden-based Yallop, who made her NZ debut in 2004, had matured into a dependable and consistent presence in the squad.

Yallop typified the hard-working approach he hoped to instil in his players.

"The more experience we can get these players, the better the team will be for it," Readings said.

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