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NZ battle to second rugby Test win

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016

New Zealand kept Australia tryless for the second game on end, but had to work hard for their 29-3 women's rugby Test win in Auckland on Wednesday.

After running in 11 tries in beating the Wallaroos 67-3 on Saturday, the Black Ferns had to work hard for their five-try win at QBE Stadium.

Australia took an early hit when winger Cobie-Jane Morgan appeared to make remarks which earned the ire of referee Helen O'Reilly.

The Black Ferns took quick advantage of Morgan's yellow card, Sarah Goss fending off Australian flanker Grace Hamilton from an attacking lineout to dive over in the fifth minute.

The Wallaroos answered with a penalty from five-eighth Ash Hewson soon after but Toko Natua, replacing injured prop Pip Love, restored the margin when she barrelled over in the 14th minute.

Showing more cohesion and drive up front, the Australians worked their way back into the match, building phases and coming within a metre of scoring after 25 minutes.

The Black Ferns defence held strong, the Kiwis working their way back downfield where they looked to have scored again only for Kendra Cocksedge to lose the ball in a strong tackle from Morgan.

New Zealand's powerful scrum earned a turnover soon after, winger Renee Wickcliffe dancing through the Australian line defence before quick ball from halfback Cocksedge found Honey Hireme for the try.

Ahead 17-3 at halftime, the New Zealanders struggled to add to their tally after the restart, particularly after losing skipper and hooker Fiao'o Faamausili to a 54th minute yellow card for losing her feet at the breakdown.

Sevens star Portia Woodman broke the drought in the 62nd minute, set up by a long skip pass from Cocksedge after quick hands from Hazel Tubic and Kelly Brazier.

Staunch Australian defence continued to keep the New Zealanders under pressure, but the Kiwis broke through again in the 72nd minute when Saturday's four-try hero Selica Winiata burst through from long range for the Black Ferns' fifth and final try.

The Black Ferns now leave for Europe for matches against Canada, Ireland and world champions England.

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