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Joanah Ngan-Woo: How 'the hand' became a moment in RWC history

December 13, 2022

It was the lineout steal that broke English hearts and sealed a Rugby World Cup victory for the Black Ferns this year.


But the woman behind it – Black Fern Joanah Ngan-Woo – has played down the now-famous “hand” that swiped the ball away, saying analysis was the real deciding factor.

Ngan-Woo and her teammates continued celebrations today for last month’s win in Wellington as part of their nationwide tour to thank New Zealand for the support.

Asked about the moment on her own 5m line, Ngan-Woo said she knew it was coming.

"I knew they were going to go to the front,” She said.

“We had analysed them all week and I just had to do my job."

Sure enough, her left hand got in for the steal – a hand that now proudly displays her commemorative team ring for winning the world cup.

"I find it so funny, especially when that article about the hand came out, we were laughing so much,” Ngan-Woo said.

“My family talks about it. They laugh too because it's my bread-and-butter sort of thing."

Now-former Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith said there was a little more to it than that though.

"Joanah takes a lot of credit for that, she's a very smart woman, really good at what she does,” he said.

“She noticed a wee cue that was given by the jumper and went up."

The rest is history.

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