Zali Fay has doubled up to help the Māori Ferns run over the Indigenous All Stars in Rotorua.
- Māori Ferns won 16-12 against the Indigenous All Stars
- The hosts scored four tries to two
- Zali Fay crossed for a double for the Māori Ferns
The Māori Ferns prevailed 16-12 on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of tries to Jasmin Strange, Amy Turner and Fay, who bookended the day with the first and last scores of the match.
Relentless with the ball all afternoon, the Māori Ferns were worthy winners of the first All Stars match played in New Zealand.
However, they threatened to throw it away in the third quarter when Destiny Brill was sent to the sin-bin for a spear-tackle on Indigenous All Stars try-scorer Jada Taylor.
Earlier, Taylor scored the try of the match, racing onto Kirra Dibb’s delayed pass and spinning past three to touch down and reduce the deficit.
Playing against 12, in the 40th minute Keilee Joseph broke two tackles and leaped between two further Māori Ferns players to put the Indigenous All Stars in front for the first time.
Challenged, the Māori Ferns rose to the occasion, with 38-year-old Turner finishing a fifth-tackle effort for a crowd-pleasing try to tie the scores at 12-12.
The Indigenous All Stars then blundered, hitting Brill with a high shot that gave their opponents a late penalty metres from the line.
Rather than kick, the Māori Ferns ran the ball and were rewarded in the corner when the indefatigable Fay popped up to score.
Hard-hitting Māori Ferns fullback Gayle Broughton was named player-of-the-match, and rewarded with a haka from her teammates before giving an emotional speech.
“No better feeling coming home and bringing this special moment home,” Broughton said.
“Can’t put it into words, I’m absolutely buggered. What a game.”
The Indigenous All Stars had their moments but were too ponderous with the ball early, when they struggled to make inroads in the final 20 minutes.
“It was a deadly game. The Māori really gave it to us and took it away at the end,” Dibb said.
Fay’s heroics spared Māori Ferns captain Zahara Temara’s blushes — the five-eighth missed her four conversions on a tough day.
The clash began with traditional elements; the Indigenous unity dance and — in response — a Māori welcome haka.