The Kiwi Ferns shook off a slow start against France to record a 46-0 shutout victory in their opening game of the Women's World Cup.
Halfback Raecene McGregor, this season's NRLW Dally M Medal winner, was the standout player for New Zealand, setting up three tries and handling most of the general play kicking.
It took the Kiwi Ferns 23 minutes to get going, as they struggled to break down a stubborn French line, but once that happened the tries came thick and fast for coach Ricky Henry's side.
New Zealand scored four first-half tries, two of which were converted, for a 20-0 lead at the break, and scored a further five in the second period.
Despite the big scoreline, the Kiwi Ferns will know big improvement will be needed ahead of facing the Jillaroos later in group play.
Match: New Zealand v France
Round 1 -
Venue: LNER Community Stadium, York
- Off the bench, Brianna Clark ran for 113 metres for New Zealand, while lock Georgia Hale was typically busy with 31 tackles and 139 metres with ball in hand.
- France lost lock Leila Bessahli to a failed HIA 19 minutes into the match and could now miss the rest of group play under tournament head injury protocols.
- Kiwi Ferns fullback Apii Nicholls was strong in her first Test since 2019, carrying the ball for 177 metres and scoring a try.
- Madison Bartlett scored first after a left-side shift from the Kiwi Ferns found space on the edge.
- Nicholls was next to score after Raecene McGregor bounced a kick off the upright, before Amber Hall powered through for New Zealand's third.
- Roxy Murdoch-Masila scored in the shadows of half-time, followed by a Katelyn Vaha'akolo try a minute into the second half which gave the Kiwi Ferns a 24-0 lead.
- The next one was an all-McGregor affair, as Raecene kicked for younger sister Page who dotted down.
- Vaha'akolo and Murdoch-Masila both collected personal doubles, before Knights centre Shanice Parker scored an electric 95-metre try to stretch the final scoreline out.
- New Zealand made 13 errors and completed just 63 percent of their sets.
What They Said
"Bit of a slow start for us, but give credit to the French team who came out and put it on us. Really pleased with the effort, but we have got a lot of improvement in us." - New Zealand coach Ricky Henry.
"We did well, we are really proud of our first half. This was the best game a French women's team ever played. We learned a lot from this game" - France coach Vincent Baloup.
Parker blitzes French defence in 100m run
Both sides are back in action on Monday (AEDT), with France facing the back-to-back world champion Jillaroos and the Kiwi Ferns taking on Cook Islands.