The French error in New Zealand’s second try, though play triggered a tense and disjointed second period

The French error in New Zealand’s second try, though play triggered a tense and disjointed second period

It was an avoidable attempt that revived the Black Fern and flipped the match into another dimension. New Zealand’s second semi-final meeting against France, Saturday 5 November, not only allowed them to get back into the game, but also unleashed 40 minutes of madness and tension.

On their return from the locker room, when they were seven points ahead, the Blues gave up a not yet dangerous action, at the entrance of 22 metres. Unresolved on his part, Kiwi forward Rene Holmes fired a low kick towards the French goal. Emily Pollard appeared on the ball, but let Robbie Tui flick it and level it just before the baseline.

Stress and anxiety in the garden

An amazing feat that immediately increased the tension on the lawn. The French had so far managed it, and swept the Black Ferns comeback in the first half by immediately scoring their second try. But after three minutes of returning from the locker room, the gap on the scoreboard narrowed (17-15), excitement dominated the two groups, and the match opened.

After his restart, the five-time world champion missed a chance to score in the ensuing minutes. Renee Holmes, who had already missed a conversion at the second attempt, failed again against the poles in one of the many penalties the Blues have conceded (14 in all).

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Wayne Smith’s players ended up taking the lead by flattening a third time into the French goal, in the 58th minute, a small eternity for the second nation in the world. The attempt came after a new disjointed action, as the Blues thought they had recovered from a good abrasion, but the referee reversed the decision after a no-ball tackle from Celine Ferrer (55).

The French are disappointed after their World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand, November 5, 2022 (MARTY MELVILLE / AFP)

Finally in the lead, the Black Ferns continued to rely on the chaotic game they love to destabilize the French. But mayhem is taken too far and often turns into chaos on the pitch, with balls played too fast and players like Portia Woodman not knowing what to do with the ball (65th), all at a pace from hell. and despite the three’s many errors, they were unable to get more than eight lengths.

until the last moment

Because in the heart of this whirlwind, the French tried to preserve what makes them strong, their solid defensive base. With eleven players with 10+ tackles, and the game’s top 9 players, they tried to contain offense. After rising in power and letting loose as the competition progressed, they played solidly on Saturday to claim their third try (65) and secure their chances. Despite the fatigue and cramps that appeared since the 50th minute, even in numerical inferiority, Thomas Darach’s players clung, to a small point, for a mad end to the match.

The last minutes the New Zealanders paid almost dearly. After an inexplicably missed ball in an instant but no pressure, they in turn received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, which delivered a decisive final penalty and sweated out cold. After 79 minutes of play at Eden Park, and a stunning second split, Caroline Drouin missed a run. Trying to scratch a three-color on the throw-in, to the end, then the black fern was able to touch it and enjoy it. Having lost this chaotic battle, the Blues, frustrated, now slump themselves into third place, to repack.

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