The Black Ferns faced a tough challenge in their WXV 1 Tournament match against France, resulting in an 18-17 loss, which ended their 16-match winning streak. France’s victory was a reversal of the outcome from their previous meeting at the 2022 Rugby World Cup when the Black Ferns won by one point in the semi-final.
France capitalized on mistakes by the home side early in the game and took the lead with a try. The Black Ferns responded with a try from Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, leveling the score at 7-7. However, France struck back with another try after a New Zealand mistake, leading 15-7 at halftime.
A penalty for each team extended France’s lead to 18-10. The situation became even more challenging for the Black Ferns when Chryss Viliko received a red card for a dangerous tackle, leaving them with 14 players.
Despite being a player down, the Black Ferns managed to secure a penalty from a scrum, which led to a try by Katelyn Vahaakolo, who capitalized on a clever Ruby Tui kick. Co-captain Ruahei Demant successfully converted the try, bringing the score to 18-17 with only a few minutes left.
Despite intense pressure from the Black Ferns, France held on to their narrow lead and secured the victory. The match showcased the competitive nature of women’s rugby at the highest level.
In an earlier game at the same venue, Canada defeated Wales with a score of 42-22, with Wales initially threatening to end a 17-year losing streak to Canada before eventually being overpowered.