Black Ferns coaching group happy with growth in Pacific Four Series

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The Black Ferns only conceded a single try in three games, while scoring 101 points.

 

It's a big step forward for the Black Ferns, who were heavily defeated in four Tests by England and France on the Northern Tour last year. Assistant coach Whitney Hansen emphasised a lot has changed in 2022.

 

“There’s been a massive shift in the mindset of the players. There is more urgency in the performance, greater desire and enthusiasm,” she said

 

Defending family is a theme which has stuck with the girls on defence. When we attack we show we are not scared. The fear of making mistakes has reduced.”

 

There were 11 Test debutants who featured across the three matches. Lucy Anderson who triled for the Black Ferns as far back as 2013 was one of those individuals.

 

“Pip Love presented Lucy with her cap and summed her up with one word, resilience,” Hansen said.

 

“Part of Lucy changing positions was the black jersey. The debutants were my highlight of the series. Getting to see those women share their first experience in the Black Ferns with friends and family was really special.” 

 

 

Another highlight for forwards coach Hansen was the improvement in the lineout, especially against the USA.

 

“Our lineout is continuing to get better. Being able to attack from it is a key part of our game. We're excited to get 50 points in the weather.” 

 

The Black Ferns defence was solid, only conceding one try across the series, which was pleasing for assistant coach Wesley Clarke.

 

“I’m somewhat happy with just one try against [us] in three games, but we're not even close to potential.

 

“One thing that was pleasing to hear one of the girls say was that it’s easy out there on communication. That’s the opposite of what training is like when Smithy (Wayne Smith) has the girls under all sorts of pressure.”

 

Halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu handled the pressure of her first Test start with poise. Setting up two tries and distributing quickly, she was named player of the match against the USA. She’d previously appeared seven times as a substitute. 

 

“Arihiana was fantastic. She’s experienced, a calming influence, unafraid to have a crack, she was outstanding on attack and defence” Clark said.

 

Director of Rugby Wayne Smith said the weather conditions in all three fixtures was a challenge. He was pleased the attacking mindset was maintained across the series. A televised trial in three weeks and the Farah Palmer Cup kicking off in July will help create more momentum, but Smith warned some tough selection calls are imminent. 

 

“The girls are engaged, they love the jersey. It wasn’t perfect but to score 50 points in weather like that you’ve got to be proud,” Smith said.

 

“There are some tough decisions coming up. Some very good players will be at the trial, some sevens players could come back. We're experimenting with some things. We're just going to continue to grow.”

 

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