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Day One: Pool A Roundup

Here's the latest from Pool A where New Zealand played South Africa and Australia faced Wales.

Australia 26, Wales 12

The moral of this little take is... don't give the ball to the Australians in open space so that they can run at you - they will skin you alive. Unfortunately it took Wales much of the first half to work this one out, by which point they were 21-0 down - a stunning try after 8 minutes from Nicole Beck (which she then converted), Sharni Williams then doubled the score on 19 minutes, with Cobie-Jane Morgan adding a third after 27 (the last two tries resulting from Welsh handling errors).

However, after that Wales discovered that if they kept the ball with the forwards it was a different story. Set-pieces are clearly not the Ausses forte - the Walleroo line-out was particularly poor. and under pressure they made mistakes. The result was a series of yellow cards, first Alex Hargreaves near the end of the first half, then Caroline Vakalahi and Ilseva Batibasaga early in the second.

An early score in the second half (a penalty try, needless to say) and Wales were in the game... but proved unable to make their numerical advantage tell. Passes failed to go to hand, crucial kicks (including a penalty) failed to hit touch or went dead. They did finally cross the line with ten minutes to go (Lowri Harries) but Non Evans missed the kick, and then Australia's Tricia Brown restored the 14 point margin, and also gave the southern hemisphere team a bonus point.

So what do we learn? Australia have wonderful backs, but fragile forwards and a line out that failed to make a clean catch all game. And Wales can and should have done so much better.

Best player for Australia was Tricia Brown.

New Zealand 55 South Africa 3

New Zealand crushed South Africa as they kicked off their World Cup campaign in fine style. The defending champions dominated the game from start to finish with some outstanding displays from players like number 8 Casey Robertson and winger Carla Hohepa.

New Zealand got off to a super start when Williams went on an early charge and the Black Ferns were dominant from the off. Their early dominance paid off when Carla Hohepa's pace took her around the outside and over the line for the first try. Kelly Brazier kicked the convertion for a 7-0 lead after just five minutes.

South Africa struggled to deal with the pace the Black Ferns were putting on the game in attack and they conceded again minutes later when hooker Fiaoo Faamausili crashed over from short range after impressive work up front. Brazier converted and then scored herself after a storming break through the middle took her under the posts for an easy 7-pointer.

This game was now all about how much NZ could score as the Black Ferns were picking off their points with ease. A quick penalty from Brazier handed another score to Hohepa who was too quick again out wide for the South African cover. Huriana Manuel then scored after some impressive offloading.

New Zealand's offloading was perhaps the most impressive part of their game as they kept the ball alive throughout and out wide the likes of Hohepa and Renee Wickliffe were showing their flair and ability every time they got the ball.

Another try in the first half came from Manual though South Africa did have one great chance to score when a loose Black Fern pass saw Phumesa Gadu kick ahead only to see the ball trickle past the dead ball area just before she reached it. The Black Ferns came out unchanged in the second half and Witcliffe raced over for her first try after intercepting a run of play where South Africa had for once had an attacking opportunity.

South Africa had upped their game though and could take heart in some strong runs from the likes of number 8 Namhia Siyolo who was doing her best to rise her team.

The Black Ferns though gave their opponents little opportunity to shine and Hohepa's hatrick inevitably came as New Zealand pushed out to a 48-0 lead and the Black Fern management decided to empty their bench to give a runout to their replacements a runout in a game they had long wrapped up.

South Africa finally registered their first points of the day when fullback Zandole Nojoko kicked a penalty after a couple of earlier misses.

Casey Robertson who had been superb throughout was rewarded for her fine game with a try at 70 mins.

The Black Fern management will be pleased with such a high-scoring game though there may be some concern about discipline with the champions conceding far too many penalties. Their blistering start though was ultimately too much in the first half.