Black Ferns reveling in the crowd noise and support

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Midfield back Theresa Fitzpatrick said they had mixed with the Silver Ferns and told them they would be making plenty of noise for them at their game.


The value of supporting noise was something the Black Ferns were more aware of after their opening game in front of a world-record crowd at Eden Park last week.


Getting used to the noise at crowded events had been catered for in their preparation. Coach Wayne Smith organised a boom box playing crowd noise at their training sessions.


Both she and halfback Ariana Bayler said they had never experienced not being able to hear each other on the field, and they thought it had been a great idea to prepare them for that.


Finding different ways to communicate with signals and eye contact had been something they had developed.


Fitzpatrick had experienced a similar level of noise at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018, but that had been different because most of the noise was from the crowd cheering for Australia. In Auckland the noise had been for New Zealand.

Fitzpatrick said while the pressure of the first game was behind them, there was still plenty more to come.


"We're really excited that the World Cup is finally here, it's reality now and so we can look forward to our next game this weekend."


Fitzpatrick said although Trusts Stadium was smaller, it was a more intimate ground, and she expected the sold-out crowd to be much easier to hear.


"There's going to be lots of noise still, it's just at a different field."


They also said the public recognition was something they had never experienced before, but they appreciated the support and interest the tournament had aroused.


Bayler said New Zealand would be looking to make a better start against Wales.


"We know we didn't start well, but moving forward, we want to be straight out of the gate.


"It was just a bit of nerves, first time at home, World Cup. In front of our friends and family we only want to put our best foot forward but there were a few dropped balls and uncharacteristic mistakes."


She said it was good to have the more experienced players around during pressure moments, and while she hadn't worn the jersey in the Cup yet, it was massive to have them there.


"Just having them there to answer the simplest questions because they've had that experience makes it so much easier to come through as a younger player. It's their actions too, they know what they're doing and having them there to be our guides is really cool."


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