The Black Ferns have staged an impressive comeback victory against the USA in Ottawa.
Despite falling behind 17-5 after an early red card, strategic substitutions by coach Alan Bunting and the exceptional performance of experienced players led to 34 unanswered points in the second half, resulting in a 39-17 win.
Heading into the game, the Black Ferns had comfortably defeated the same Wallaroos and Canada teams that had previously overwhelmed the USA. Bunting had emphasized the importance of building depth and providing valuable game time to the team’s fresh faces and new captain.
However, their plans were disrupted when Iritana Hohaia received a red card just two minutes into the match. This forced the young Black Ferns side to readjust and play with 14 players for the remaining 78 minutes. Despite initial difficulties, they managed to regroup and find their rhythm, with debutant Grace Gago scoring their first try.
At the 30-minute mark, Bunting introduced co-captain Ruahei Demant to stabilize the team. Although Liana Mikaele-Tu’u received a yellow card, reducing the Black Ferns to 13 players for a brief period, the tide began to turn. The dominance of their forward pack, solid set pieces, and relentless attacks resulted in several tries, propelling the team to a well-deserved victory.
Final Score: Black Ferns 39 [Grace Gago, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Phillipa Love, Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, Ruahei Demant, Amy Du Plessis tries; Renee Holmes pen, 2 con] – USA 17 [Paluvava’u Freda Tafuna, Rachel Johnson tries; McKenzie Hawkins pen, 2 con].