Kiwi Ferns' late comeback not enough as Jillaroos claim Women's RLWC glory

share

Source:

AAP

Tears of joy have flowed with the Jillaroos farewelling co-captains Steph Hancock and Renae Kunst in style, defending their Rugby League World Cup title with a 23-16 win over the Kiwi Ferns.

Jillaroos centre Isabelle Kelly scored a double but the win was sealed by Caitlin Moran's field goal with 13 seconds left, ensuring the hosts clinched back to back Cups and finish 2017 undefeated.

After the Jillaroos kept their emotions about their departing leaders in check ahead of the decider, they didn't hold back at fulltime as players celebrated the glittering careers of forwards Hancock and Kunst.

The pair held the Jillaroos reins with fellow co-captain Ruan Sims.

But there was no fairytale for Ferns captain Laura Mariu who drew the curtain on her 17-year international career after the four tries to three loss.

The Jillaroos were surprise 2013 Cup winners when they beat three-time champions the Ferns for the first time in the final, ending a 13 year win-less drought.

But there was no doubting the Jillaroos were worthy champions in Brisbane on Saturday after holding out the visitors, enduring some anxious moments when the Ferns scored in the 69th minute through five-eighth Raecene McGregor to make it 22-16.

It was an impressive win by Australia who were without star fullback Sam Bremner (leg fracture) for the entire tournament.

Her replacement Nakia Davis-Welsh suffered a leg injury in a 73rd minute tackle.

The Jillaroos grabbed an unlikely 12-10 halftime lead after halfback Moran stepped through four defenders to score in the 36th minute.

It was a shot in the arm for the hosts after 36-year-old Honey Hireme grabbed a first half double to give opposite number Chelsea Baker nightmares, taking her tournament try tally to a staggering 13.

loading error

refresh