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Silver Ferns end Northern tour with clean sweep over Wales

Producing a dominant second half, the Silver Ferns overcame a spirited Wales 72-39 to complete a 2-0 series sweep in Cardiff to claim the Wendy White Trophy on Thursday.

Following their 92-27 win 24 hours earlier, the Silver Ferns had another opportunity to test new combinations, Wales showing considerable enterprise to notch up their equal-highest score against the visitors, achieved in 1998.

The Silver Ferns started with an untried line-up, bookended at both ends by youngsters Maia Wilson, under the shooting ring, making her first Test Match start, and goalkeeper Kelly Jury.

In just her fifth Test, Wilson showed she was far from overwhelmed by the occasion, making an instant impact by scoring the Silver Ferns first nine goals.

Wales rebounded from their heavy defeat the day before with a resilient and competitive opening. With their new combinations taking time to gel, the Silver Ferns faced a more challenging outing, Wales ability to retain the ball creating turnovers by the visitors.

A competitive defensive circle and confidence in the shooting circle kept Wales in touch when the Silver Ferns led 15-12 at the first break.

There was more impetus from the Silver Ferns on the resumption, player of the series Grace Rasmussen showing plenty of enterprise from wing attack with a clean delivery of service to Wilson and Te Paea Selby-Rickit under the hoop.

Wales hung on grimly but lacked the finishing accuracy under mounting pressure from the Silver Ferns. The tall and mobile back three of Jury, goal defence Anna Harrison and wing defence Katrina Grant provided the New Zealanders with more turnover opportunities as the visitors increased their hold on the match with a 31-21 lead at the main break.

Wholesale changes by the Silver Ferns for the second half had a big influence on proceedings against a tiring Wales, who made limited changes.

The versatile Rasmussen made a seamless switch to goal attack, her creativity, vision and quick hands opening up spaces and adding sparkle to the Silver Ferns attacking line.

With a lift in their intensity levels, the speed and flow through court from the Silver Ferns left Wales on the back foot, the combined efforts of Jane Watson (goalkeeper), captain Grant (goal defence) and Harrison (wing defence) stifling Wales attacking momentum.

The Silver Ferns continued to pull away, goals from the hosts becoming fewer and further between as the visitors flexed their muscle on their way to building a commanding 51-30 lead at the last break.

There was more of the same in the run home, the Silver Ferns continuing to dominant with a 21-goal haul while restricting Wales to nine.