Black Ferns banking on X-factor against England

Getty Images     13 Jul 2013     Getty Images

It's X-factor, and he's hoping his star players will exude it come Saturday afternoon against England.

A number of players have caught the eye of the Kelston Boys' High School principal including starting wing Portia Woodman, a netballer-turned-Sevens star who will make her 15-a-side debut on Saturday.

Add first-five Kelly Brazier and the pacey Renee Wickliffe to the team and Evans has a wealth of talent in his stocks.

Evans said that while the players in his previous sides have been 'very good', the presence of players with X-factor is sure to provide his team with a much-needed boost on Saturday.

"It's hard to coach but they're going to bring that and they'll bring a bit of excitement. Even off the bench I think we've got some really good players to come in," said Evans.

While knowing the game will be won and lost at the breakdown, Evans said his side's talented backline could be the difference.

"We're possibly stronger in our backs, but they'll be well aware of that and I'm sure they'll have a plan to counter that."

Evans noted all players were available for selection, with some players recovering from slight niggles and sickness, 'which is what you want from your team'.

The old head master was frank when he discussed the challenge of facing a side without star flanker Maggie Euphonsi and five other players with a combined 248 matches worth of experience.

"It's hard to get the edge over England, they're a formidable team. The players they've brought in we're very aware of and we've seen them – they're very, very good players.

Add to the mix some disappointing Sevens World Cup and Six Nations campaigns and there is plenty of motivation for the world's second-ranked team.

"They've made it quite clear they're out here to win 3-0. I think their Sevens programme didn't work out as well as they hoped. It's a different game but there'll be motivation for some of those players."

The Black Ferns face England on Saturday at Eden Park. Kick-off is at 5.05pm(NZT).