Hansen outlines vision for Black Ferns at Rugby World Cup

Whitney v3

She is the first woman since Vicky Dombroski in 1994 to coach the Black Ferns. Sue Garden-Bachop was a selector for the 2002 World Cup win in Barcelona.


Whitney, daughter of former World Cup winning All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen, has a clear vision of what she expects from the Black Ferns.


“We wanted fit, fast, explosive, powerful athletes who were pretty good at rugby. That sounds like a silly thing to say but it's not enough to just be able to scrummage anymore,” Hansen said.


“Workrate was massive and character was really important. When you go away for eight or nine weeks together sometimes the right person is the right person.”



There are 366 combined caps and eight previous World Cup winners in the squad. The preparation for the World Cup hasn’t been ideal though with Covid and managerial changes as recently as April. However, the Black Ferns have won their last five test matches. In that time, Hansen has built a strong relationship with fellow coach Wayne Smith.


“He says you’ve got 20 minutes and I try to argue for 30,” Hansen laughed.


“Controlling the controllables has been big. Being under real adversity is what builds resilience. It creates pressure which has led to an urgency and intensity in the playing group. I think that’s led to some of the success we’ve had so far.”


Hansen said combating the challenge of the physical Northern Hemisphere sides would be a focus for her in the lead-up to the tournament

“It is about getting those combinations right come lineout time and continually work on our scrum. There’s not a lot of people who we can play against that are going to replicate what we might face when we come up against those Northern Hemisphere teams like England and France, so we’ll be finding ways to challenge the girls. We will look to do that by getting in some competition with the likes of Japan in the lead-up but also getting in some scenario stuff with some age group men’s teams,” Hansen said.


The Black Ferns face Japan in a warm-up match at Eden Park on Saturday September 24 before kicking of their Rugby World Cup campaign against Australia on Saturday October 8 at the same ground. Get your tickets HERE.


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