Historic win for Auckland women
April 23, 2000
The Auckland Storm beat the Lady Waratahs, 35-5, in Super 12 curtain raiser at Eden Park on Saturday evening.
This was the first time that a women's international provincial game has ever been played. Danika Charlton, Auckland women's rugby development officer, conceded before the match that it was something of an experiment , to test the feasibility of a Super 6 or Super 4 competition to run parallel to Super 12 and to test the competitiveness of Australian opposition, bearing in mind that Auckland are unbeaten since 1995, a run of 29 consecutive games, including the inaugural NPC in 1999. There are sponsorship, marketing and financial issues that need to be addressed before such a concept can become a reality, but the evidence of this match suggested that there would be a Trans-Tasman competitiveness.
For most of the first half this was not apparent. After an even start, the well-drilled Auckland Storm side, which included 12 members of the 1998 World Cup winning Black Ferns side, asserted their collective strength and demonstrated their individual skills and flair. Apart from the occasions when they re-started the game, the Lady Waratahs could not get out of their half to apply any pressure in Storm territory. It seemed a matter of time before Auckland wore down the opposition and an avalanche of points ensued. Tries from Louisa Wall, Anna Richards and Waimania Teddy, conversions by Richards and Tammi Wilson and two penalties from Richards built up a comfortable 25-0 half time lead.
But at the start of the second half, no doubt buoyed by their half time talk, the Lady Waratahs showed greater commitment and won for themselves greater possession and better field positions. Consequently, the Storm could only add two further tries , from Wilson and Richards, the first a classic dash down the left wing which had the crowd on its feet. The Waratahs' skipper, Louise Ferris, scored a good try for the Australians in the 55th minute and her side battled until the end.
The organisers will be encouraged to continue with their blueprint for 2001.At this stage the relative weakness of South African women's rugby , and the costs of travel between the Republic and Australasia, prevent the birth of a genuine women's Super 12, but a Super 12 involving New Zealand and Australian teams would have a good chance of providing competitive rugby and a stepping stone between club and international rugby.
15. Tammi Wilson
16. Waimania Lesley Teddy
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