A word of caution from the Black Ferns’ co-captain Before their semi-final match, France should be frightened
Women’s Rugby World Cup : Co-captain of the Black Ferns and All Blacks Ruahei Demant says France “should be terrified” about Saturday’s World Cup semi-final at Eden Park.
During New Zealand’s 2021 end-of-year trip of England and France, the two countries’ historic rugby rivals clashed twice, both times with the Black Ferns being soundly defeated.
Both Tests against France were losses by at least 22 points for New Zealand, who had already lost their first two matches of the trip, notably by 41 points in Northampton, against World No. 1.
A new Black Ferns coach, the famous Wayne Smith, was hired in April, and the team has since shown great optimism that they may win the World Cup under his leadership.
Despite a terrible start against the Wallaroos, they have scored 209 points in four games.
The Black Ferns, according to co-captain Demant, have “changed” their mentality and completely transformed their danger level when they have the ball in hand.
We’re not like any other squad, either. When asked about the team’s development this week, Demant remarked, “We’ve progressed in so many ways, but probably the largest aspect is the attitude that we have when we have ball-in-hand.
There’s no section of the field we don’t want to attempt to score from, and no amount of defensive pressure we aren’t willing to try to convert into points.
It takes guts to do it. It’s easy to fall into the old school belief that you need territory and possession to win a game of football, but not every team does that.
“The French style is a French style,” he said, “so our coaches are looking at the game with new eyes.” Nevertheless, “that hunger and determination to make sure that you come full-time we’re going through to the Final,” he said.
All four of the Black Ferns’ World Cup wins have been convincing victories, but it can’t be denied that France has previously defeated them by large scores.
In their first matchup in November, the hosts prevailed 38-13 in Pau. France responded with a 29-7 victory in Castres a week later.
Demant thinks the Black Ferns can win the Final despite being the historical “underdog,” and the New Zealand pivot agrees.
“In terms of the outcomes of every time we’ve played France, absolutely we are the underdogs,” she added.
But this is the semi-finals of the World Cup, so anything can happen. How would you feel if you were on my team and you knew that this game may very well be your last?
When I think back to the first time we trained with Wayne Smith, I realize that those sessions were nothing like the ones we have today. Even after this morning’s training, we were probably at our best in terms of the quality of some of the exercises we were performing and the precision with which we were executing them.
So that you can’t judge the team’s progress from the beginning of the year to now, “that’s precisely what you want this week,” he said.
The first semi-final is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and it will feature a repeat of the 2014 Final between Canada and England.
The second semifinal will have France taking against New Zealand at Eden Park.