Black Ferns set for physical clash with Wales

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Coach Wayne Smith said the Black Ferns needed to show the right attitude to play well against Wales.

They had given them a physical lesson in their first game, so the New Zealanders had some ground to make up.

"We only played off three scrums against them. They beat us physically. This is an opportunity for our women to show that we can match them."

He was pleased that co-captain and loose forward Kennedy Simon was back from injury because she was a motivating person.

"She's probably the most innovative captain I've been involved with. Her messaging is really clear. She's direct, well respected, so it's great to get her back on the field."

Simon said she was excited to have a chance to play.

"I've been able to observe from the side and think about what I want to add. I can put that behind me now I get to play."

It had been hard watching on while doing her rehabilitation from injury. However, the team was supportive.

"They got around me, made sure I was up to speed and would talk about the little things they picked up in the team training that I could take into this week."

Wing Portia Woodman said it was great having Simon back as she had so much mana.


"Whenever she says something, all the girls tune in. To have her voice back in and amongst the training has been awesome. Look out on the weekend, it's going to be great."

Woodman said the pressure to perform well was no different to any other tournament. The pressure was always there.

"This World Cup it has been a privilege to play in front of our home crowd. Not many players get to do that."

Centre Stacey Fluhler said New Zealand were aware of what Wales could do. However, there was plenty of incentive for the Black Ferns.

She expected Simon to have an influence on the game, while Ayesha Leti-l'iga had more to offer than was seen in her return game last week.

"Watch out for Ayesha. She will get the ball in the back three, so watch her power and explosiveness on the field. Also, our front row have a point to prove. Wales beat us in our set piece a couple of weeks ago, and they were disappointed with that.

"If they can strike out hard up front and create platform, then we will be happy in the backs."


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