New Zealand defeat Australia 31-11 in the first of a two test series, which kicked off in Sydney earlier today.
While the scoreline suggests something of a rout, New Zealand were made to work very hard by an inexperienced Australian team and in the end it was the unstoppable Black Ferns maul which did most of the damage.
New Zealand's driving lineout was outstanding and Australia had few answers to its power - and it was that outlet which helped deliver a hat-trick for the 53-Test skipper Fiao’o Faamausili.
Accuracy was a problem for both sides, hardly a surprise given how little game time they have all had together over the past year, and there are likely to be many improvements between now and the second test at Eden Park. Australia looked a much improved outfit from last year, looking fitter and much better organised.
New Zealand scored just 11 minutes in through Kendra Cocksedge, with some oustanding footwork from Renee Wickliffe.
Wallaroos' Mahalia Murphy was then close to crossing herself following an excellent run from over halfway and beating several defenders before being tackled 10 metres out from the try-line. From that, Aroha Savage was pinged and Autralia's loose head prop Emily Robinson got her side on the board.
Hooker Faamausili got her first try soon after with a smart piece of play down the blindside from a great maul before Australia's No.8 Grace Hamilton was sent to the bin for collapsing another maul - the tool which had already become a massive problem for the hosts defensively.
Prop Aldora Itunu crashed over on the stroke of halftime for a 19-3 lead following a quick tap and go from Cocksedge.
The Wallaroos started the second half well when flanker Emily Chancellor grabbed onto a loose pass and raced through and from a penalty, Robinson added another three points.
In quick succession Fa'amausili then grabbed two tries off driving lineouts - ending the contest as far as the result went but Australia kept battling and scored a lovely try with some great offloading through Alisha Hewett.
The two sides meet again at Eden Park next weekend.
BLACK FERNS: Selica Winiata, Renee Wickliffe, Stacey Waaka, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Alena Saili, Ruahei Demant, Kendra Cocksedge, Aroha Savage, Les Elder, Charmaine McMenamin, Charmaine Smith, Eloise Blackwell, Aldora Itunu, Fiao'o Faamausili (capt), Phillipa Love.
RESERVES: Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Cristo Tofa, Leilani Perese, Jackie Patea-Fereti, Linda Itunu, Kristina Sue, Krysten Cottrell, Chelsea Alley.
WALLAROOS: 1. Emily Robinson, 2. Liz Patu, 3. Evelyn Horomia, 4. Michelle Milward, 5. Rebecca Clough, 6. Emily Chancellor*, 7. Georgia O’Neill*, 8. Grace Hamilton, 9. Cobie-Jane Morgan, 10. Trileen Pomare, 11. Samantha Treherne, 12. Crystal Maguire*, 13 Atasi Lafai*, 14 Mhicca Carter*, 15 Mahalia Murphy.
16. Darryl Wickliffe*,17.