WALES 12 NEW ZEALAND 44
Wales were overrun 44-12 by New Zealand to launch their Women’s Rugby World Cup group campaign in disappointing fashion in Dublin.
The Black Ferns, who are expected to be the greatest challengers for England’s global crown, amassed eight tries at a sun-kissed Billings Park.
Full-back Selica Winiata spearheaded the assault with a hat-trick of tries and wing Renee Wickliffe ran in two as New Zealand’s back three ran riot.
Wales’ best asset was their pack and level of commitment and in the second half they were at least able to score tries through Sioned Harries and Mel Clay.
However, the defeat means Rowland Phillips’ team must prevail against Canada on Sunday if they are to progress to the semi-finals.
Wing Portia Woodman’s scorching break that was finished by Winiata began the rout before centre Stacey Waaka ran in a simple finish following a sweeping team move.
The Black Ferns were giving a lesson in the art of finishing as captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili made the initial inroads for Wickliffe to score before the wing added a long-range intercept for her second.
New Zealand led 20-0 at half-time and were already out of sight even before Woodman gathered Kelly Brazier’s hack on to score and shortly after second row Eloise Blackwell crashed over.
Wales finally made an indent on the scoreboard when Harries was able to use her strength to power over from a line-out and Winiata and Clay went on to swap tries in a lively second half.
Winiata then completed her hat-trick as the Black Ferns sounded an ominous warning to their World Cup rivals.