History awaits the Black Ferns at Eden Park

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A record crowd of more than 30,000 will watch the game, the biggest to watch a women's sporting event in New Zealand, and the team was excited to have that level of interest from their country.


She said: "You dream of opportunities like this, playing a Rugby World Cup at home, but you never think it would happen.


"To be one of the lucky ones, at the right time in our careers - the stars are aligned.


"I can't describe it because I don't even know what it is going to be like. It is exciting to see the growth among fans, and support for women's sport in general, let alone women's rugby."


Demant's co-captain Kennedy Simon said the event had come around quickly after being delayed a year due to the Covid pandemic.


She said: "It felt like only yesterday it was 100 days to the World Cup, now we are into the final week and we are rearing to go."


Simon said that after their last game against Australia, they had tidied up aspects of their play.

"I think it is going to again be a fast-paced game. We are looking at really heavy collisions, so it is going to be very exhilarating."


Australia captain Shannon Parry, who is playing her fourth World Cup, said the opening against New Zealand would be 'epic.'


"It's really good to see New Zealand, and the whole southern hemisphere really embrace it. You see it all around town on the billboards, and it's really exciting to have it in such a rugby rich nation."


Demant believes home supporters will find the women's game less predictable and more unorthodox than the men's game.


"It is exciting to watch from a fan's point of view."


She felt the delay in staging the event had been a blessing in disguise for the Black Ferns. Changes made after the disappointing results on last year's end-of-season tour to the northern hemisphere had been for the better.


"It is an exciting environment. There has been a lot of work put in by players here and, also, players who aren't here, and that is the way footy goes sometimes.


"Our coaches have selected great players, but also great people, and we have a range of experiences."


They have players who had played at World Cups and the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and they would draw on all those experiences in their preparation.


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