Black Ferns focused and ready for USA

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Assistant coach Steve Jackson said they had watched coverage of that game, which the USA lost. They had been in the game for the first 20-30 minutes and would be encouraged by aspects of their play.

But New Zealand has concentrated on its preparations, knowing that it can be confident if it can achieve what it wants in its game.

Jackson said after having two weeks together the side was able to slip into preparation mode for Saturday's game against the United States.

That has been helped by players having better preparation than last year.

"We're really happy with where the group's at. They're all in better condition than last year because of the extension of Aupiki and being in professional environments for a little longer. 

"That always helps when they come into our camp. We're not starting from square one. We can move on and move on quickly.

Early attention has been placed on improving areas of their game from last year; especially ball carries and ball placement. The set piece was also important because if that was wrong, nothing else mattered.

"There's been a big focus around the breakdown and our soft skills, our catch-pass and the ability to beat defenders.

"We need to nail the opportunities we get because you only get a few in the game and then, when we get into those 22m entries we need to execute and finish. So that's been a big focus."

Jackson said that when a new coaching group came in last year, it took time to connect before players warmed to the personnel and understood what they were about and where they were trying to get to with the team.

"We introduced quite a few different things last year and we're 12 months into our roles and we're 12 months better."

"A lot of times coaches focus on things they need to work on, but in this environment, we encourage them to be better at the things they are good at, make that their super power, and make sure they're comfortable and confident so they can go out there and deliver."

He added that the series was part of their World Cup build-up for next year.

"These are the prime opportunities to introduce some things, get the girls to understand why we've changed a few things, and build on those as this competition continues.

"And then, we keep building and building, and making sure they're clear around the reasons why we're doing certain things. Then in the games sticking to our structure and our system."

Jackson said that with the women's Warriors team playing next year and players having a chance to switch codes, it was a reality of professional sport, and players would decide what was best for their families.

"It's our job to create a winning environment and winning pinnacle events and create a culture that players want to stay with the Black Ferns for the long term. 

"It's healthy to have these opportunities for our ladies to go out there and have a good look. We support whatever the players want to do.

"We're trying to create that cultural environment and that winning culture. We're happy with the squad at the moment and I'm pretty sure they're happy where they are as well."


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