Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Ireland stun Black Ferns

Ireland caused one of the great upsets in Women's Rugby World Cup history as they beat New Zealand 17-14 in Pool B.

The Black Ferns have won the last four tournaments and had not lost a World Cup game since a defeat to the United States in the semi-finals in 1991.

They began reasonably well and led 8-0 courtesy of a Kelly Brazier penalty and Selica Winiata's try but Heather O'Brien's score, which was then converted by Niamh Briggs, cut the deficit to just one point at the break.

Brazier's second penalty extended New Zealand's lead but when Alison Miller went over with Briggs again adding the extras, it was the Irish who led by three.

Another Brazier penalty levelled the scores but Briggs slotted one of her own with 10 minutes remaining and Ireland held on for a famous victory.

The result moved Ireland to the top of Pool B ahead of their final group match against Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan praised the back-room staff for their part in plotting New Zealand's downfall.

"All credit should go to the coaches, the analysis team and the game-plan they gave us," she said on the International Rugby Board women's rugby official Twitter feed.

"It's absolutely wonderful to win against the world champions. Tonight we'll go out and enjoy a beer, then tomorrow we'll start getting ready again for Kazakhstan."

And New Zealand coach Brian Evans said: "We are very disappointed, but fair play to Ireland.

"They outmuscled us, they forced errors, but huge congratulations to them for that.

"Our mistake level was so high and we couldn't execute our game-plan and our ball retention was bad, but we must stay positive.

"I have a lot of respect for the Irish team and coaches. They are top people."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph