Black Ferns buoyed by fan support ahead of quarterfinal

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They are also aware of the rising tide of interest during the tournament and hope that it continues as they progress deep into the playoffs.

Flanker and Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini said the best thing about the public response was the number of children lined around the fences at games and calling out the players' names.

"When you're getting kids who know the players who are turning up, and telling their parents they want to come to the games…they're changing sport in New Zealand and for us, that is probably the most important thing."

Hirini hoped the support for the tournament continued and said she would never forget the Northland Events Centre crowd at the weekend, filling the embankment, and enjoying the sun.

"We've probably gone away from those days but, hopefully, women's rugby will revitalise that for the country."

Halfback and New Zealand's most capped women's player Kendra Cocksedge said the support the team had gained from the New Zealand public was something she never thought would happen, having played for so long and worked in the game away from the field.

With their attention on Wales, the side was enjoying the solitude of Tutukaka for their preparation.

Cocksedge said being able to prepare in Tutukaka was a help ahead of their quarterfinal, and it made all the side feel relaxed upon arrival.

Hirini said there was a good balance in the group and while relaxing was good, they knew when to switch on.

They knew they would be under pressure in the set-piece exchanges after Wales exposed them in their pool game.

"Crono [scrum coach Mike Cron] was pretty tough on us after that first Wales game, and we knew we weren't good enough, and now heading into the finals of the World Cup, we need to be on every single time.

"We'll be putting in a lot of work with the front-row club. We will be better."

Cocksedge said having already played Wales would not be something that made the side feel comfortable.

"We're not a team like that. We take it week by week. It doesn't matter who our opposition is. Our focus is on ourselves, and I know our forwards want to give a bit of redemption around the scrum. They've worked on that this morning.

"That's probably the main focus because the last thing we want to do is be complacent, and a team comes and tips us over.

"We've [also] got work-ons from last week. We've been starting well, and finishing well, and want to put an 80-minute performance together."

The Black Ferns take on Wales in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal at Northland Events Centre at 7.30pm on Saturday 29 October. Grab your tickets HERE.


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