There is no time to reflect on World Cup glory but a year of growth has put the Blacks Ferns in good shape as they prepare to take on England.
Saturday’s WXV1 clash in Auckland is a replay of last year’s epic World Cup final in the same city.
Co-captain Ruahei Demant said that England are as terrible as they were a year ago but the Ferns have made great progress since then.
“We didn’t look back to when we played them last year, I think the only thing we focused on was that they were a quality side then and they’re still a quality side now . the question, how can we as individuals and as a team be in the best possible position to deal with what they have to do with us.”
Demant said in their second year as professionals, the Ferns are stronger, fitter and faster.
“I think our biggest area of progress has been our ability to be conditioned for professional sport, there has been no progress in growth, even better staff resources and the hard work Bunts has done (coach Allan Bunting) to ensure that the coaches and trainers. the support team is an added value throughout the players.”
She said there is a strong sense of continuity within the squad.
“There’s a lot of intent when we review footage and attend meetings, I think in some ways it kind of stinks that it’s our last game of the season because I wish we had more opportunities to continue continue to build and grow.”
The Blacks will clinch their first WXV1 title if they win and deny England a bonus point.
With four teams still in contention for the crown, Ferns hurler Georgia Ponsonby said they will be looking to get their chance with ball in hand.
“The pressure was put on us to finish those plays and we have to continue to be disciplined, know when to go for them but also have confidence in ourselves, pull the trigger and keep playing with freedom when the time is right. “
She said during the tournament, the side has more clarity on when to apply dazzle razzle.
“We’re starting to learn from our plays and our understanding of when we hold on, when to unload and when we need to go hard into the carry.”
Of course the main weapon for the English is the rolling ball, from which they scored four tries against Canada last weekend.
“It’s no secret what we think they’ll do 10 meters out from the tryline, but I think the skills and structure are there to stop that,” said Ponsonby.
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