Black Ferns go down to France

By Te Ao - Māori News

Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge post match

The Black Ferns have gone down to a strong French side, beaten 25-16 in San Diego today. The result is a bitter blow considering the French were stung with three yellow cards throughout the game.

It’s the second win in a row for the French women over the Black Ferns, after they triumphed 30-27 in Lyon last year.

France started the game with a purpose, scoring their first try after only five minutes. Winger Caroline Boujard crossed off a five-metre scrum, benefitting from some slack defence by the Black Ferns out wide. Jessy Tremouliere added a penalty after 11 minutes to extend the lead to 8-0.

The French fullback lined up another shot five minutes later, however, the ball hit the post and landed in the arms of centre Maelan Filopon to score under the posts.

All of a sudden, the Black Ferns were staring down a 15-0 deficit. Kendra Cocksedge, playing her 50th test match for the Black Ferns, finally got them on the board with a penalty after 20 minutes. She added another before halftime, but it was always going to be an uphill battle in the second half.

The killer blow came in the 62nd minute, when the French took advantage of a bad mistake off a Black Ferns penalty. Cocksedge missed touch and the defence didn’t organise itself fast enough, allowing Tremouliere to cruise into a huge gap out wide and run the ball under the posts to make the score 25-9.

A yellow card reduced the French to 14 players for the last 10 minutes and the resulting penalty saw the Black Ferns kick to the corner. The line out drive was stopped illegally by the French, giving referee Joy Neville no option but to award a penalty try.

However, it was too little, too late. France sat back and were happy to tackle their way through the last few phases of the game, finishing a well-deserved win.

The loss does compound the Black Ferns’ somewhat slow progress in the tournament. Neither of their wins against Canada and the USA could be described as resounding, and they have constantly struggled to find any rhythm in attack. 

It doesn’t get any easier for them either, with their next match against a very strong England team next Sunday.

France 25 (C Boujard, M Filipon, J Tremouliere tries; Tremouliere 2 pen, 2 con)

Black Ferns 16 (penalty try; K Cocksedge 3 pen)