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Silver Ferns take thriller in Launceston

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/10/2016 Melissa Woods

The Silver Ferns have stunned Australia in a thriller, winning 53-51 to level the Constellation Cup in Launceston.

After a crushing 68-56 victory in the first Test in Sydney, the Diamonds couldn't handle a lift in defensive pressure by the Kiwis.

With the remaining two matches in New Zealand, starting with Auckland on Sunday, the loss is a big blow for the world champion Australians.

Silver Ferns veteran Laura Langman was one of the stars of her side, getting the better of her wing attack opponent Madi Robinson.

Langman says her team was bitterly disappointed with their opening Test loss.

"Tonight I think it showed the character that the side has," Langman said.

"Winning away from home is massive but what's really important now is to back it up.

"We've been renowned for beating Australia as a one-off and we want to start making it more consistent."

The Diamonds started brightly, running away to a 6-1 lead, but their arch rivals turned up the heat in the second quarter.

Veteran Anna Harrison started at goal-keep and the move proved a defensive masterstroke.

Harrison, playing in her second Test since a two year absence on family leave and battling injury, helped shut down the supply to the Diamonds' main shooting weapon Cailtin Bassett.

The teams went to the halftime break at 29-29 with the Australians looking rattled.

The Silver Ferns, led by rookie shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit in her sixth Test, got out to a five goal lead before Australia closed the margin to 40-42 at the final break.

The Diamonds hit the front in the last quarter but the desperate New Zealanders wouldn't be denied to give new coach Janine Southby her first win over Australia.

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