Black Ferns go down to France

Black Fern Linda Itunu tries to evade Pauline Bourdon of France at Stade des Alpes. Photo: Getty...
Black Fern Linda Itunu tries to evade Pauline Bourdon of France at Stade des Alpes. Photo: Getty Images
The Black Ferns have lost their first rugby test in almost a year and a half, defeated 30-27 by France in Grenoble.

Saturday's result means the series is drawn at 1-all after the Black Ferns won the first test 14-nil.

The home side outscored the Black Ferns four tries to three and led 19-14 at halftime, and again dominated the Black Ferns at scrum time, just as they did in the first test.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili announced her retirement from international rugby in the wake of the surprise loss.

Fa'amausili retired after last year's World Cup win, but had a change of heart and came out of retirement to take up a professional contract.

Veteran loose Linda Itunu is also retiring from international rugby.

Itunu, who was a late addition to the starting line-up after Les Elder was a late withdrawal, made several charging runs and was a standout on defence.

Discipline was also an issue for the Black Ferns, with wing Ayesha Leti-I'iga and midfielder Ruahei Demant both receiving yellow cards.

The Black Ferns' last loss was in June last year, when they were beaten 29-21 by England in Rotorua.

Both Fa'amausili and Itunu were farewelled by the side at fulltime with an emotional haka.

"It was very very emotional. Just looking at the girls doing the haka at the same time with tears is pretty emotional but I am so proud of them. We are one big family and when one person cries everyone cries.''

At 38, Fa'amausili is adamant there will be no going back on retirement next year.

"Rugby has been a big part of my life and it still will be but I just won't be taking the field alongside the girls. I've played my part in helping, progressing and nurturing players and so now I need some `me time'.''

Fa'amausili said she leaves the women's game in great heart "now that we have got the women's World Cup heading our way in 2021 it's just going to be awesome to be a part of that ... along with all the other greats of the women's game we are going to be out there supporting and make sure the profile of the women's game just keeps getting lifted."

Add a Comment