“Test match rugby is something else” – Les Elder

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Elder told Rugby World magazine that the Black Ferns would find out how ready they are for the Women's World Cup in New Zealand next year when playing two Tests each against England and France.


"We have to be ready for it – that's the message," she said.


"In the rugby landscape, everyone across the world has been dealt hard cards, so we will make sure we're ready; we won't fall back on any other reason why."


Elder, who is returning to play after childbirth, said the delay in the staging of the World Cup was a frustration at the time.


"At the time of the announcement I'd have liked it to be reconsidered. I took the postponement hard, and it rocked me mentally. Now, when I think about my readiness to play, and not just to play but play at a level where I'd be happy with how I perform. I would have hated to go into the World Cup underdone. So it's probably a good thing," she said.


With Sevens gold medalists Portia Woodman, Stacey Fluhler and Kelly Brazier, part of the touring side Elder said the Tests were important.



"We haven't played in two years and need to play the best of the best; that's those two teams. We'll see who can hack it at that level because Test-match rugby is something else. We need these games," she said.


Elder said coming back to playing after her pregnancy was probably the hardest thing she had done.


"I was pretty naïve about what your body goes through. I had a good pregnancy and was able to train – I trained the morning I went into labour – but then I had to have a C-section.


"The physical side I knew would be hard, it was the other stuff. I was used to getting up to train and feeling refreshed having slept well; that's hard to do as a new mum when you're up and down all night feeding and changing.


"Then there is the emotional battle of leaving my daughter to go training, that bit of guilt. When I look back on it, I'm really proud of what I was able to achieve," she said.


She was inspired by Carla Hohepa, Kayla McAlister and Renee Wickliffe through the process but felt there was a need for more awareness and support for elite sportswomen around the world who want to have children.


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