New Zealand score nine tries in thumping win over Wales to reach semi-finals

Wales could find no answer to the power and pace of hosts New Zealand as their Rugby World Cup run came to an end in a 55-3 quarter-final defeat in Whangarei.

Portia Woodman scored her 19th and 20th World Cup tries to overtake England’s Sue Day as the all-time leading try scorer in tournament history.

Woodman got New Zealand’s first 13 minutes in before Ruby Tui, Sarah Hirini and Amy Rule powered the Black Ferns into a 26-3 half-time lead.

And it got no better for Wales after the break, with Woodman’s second coming three minutes into the second half, and the defending champions pulled further clear as Luka Connor scored twice, Alana Bremner crossed and Ruahei Demant finished things off.

Wales, beaten 56-12 by New Zealand in pool play, always knew they faced an uphill challenge to knock out the tournament hosts but were never able to get a grip on the game as the Black Ferns’ powerful pack overran them.

The opening try came from a line-out, with New Zealand quickly shifting the ball across the field, finding Woodman with the space to power over.

Wales replied with a penalty from Keira Bevan but it was only a temporary reprieve, and moments later Woodman hauled in a high cross-field kick from Demant and laid it off for Tui to do the rest.

New Zealand were relentless. Theresa Fitzpatrick raced through the middle of the field and, though she was stopped short of the line, Woodman laid it off for Hirini to go over in the corner.

Ayesha Leti-I’iga was stopped short of the line after a scrum but with Wales struggling to get out of their own 22 the next try was a matter of time, and it came in the 39th minute when Woodman charged forward after a line-out and Rule finished it off.

After the break, New Zealand picked up where they left off. Three minutes in, they turned it over from a breakdown and Woodman crossed to break Day’s record.

Six minutes later the Black Ferns tore up a Wales scrum and replacement Connor, just on for Georgia Ponsonby, got the try.

The contest was over and New Zealand’s semi-final meeting with France booked, but the hosts were out to make a statement as Bremner, Connor again and Demant pushed the score beyond the half-century.