Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili believes she has the right team to win the 2018 Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland. The 28-strong squad heads off next month in their bid to win their fifth title since 1998.
In her last World Cup as captain, Faamausuli is intent on winning it.
“I'm wanting to come away on a high, and just making sure that Women's Rugby in general and as well as the Black Ferns rugby is heading in the right direction,” says Faamausili.
The Black Ferns suffered at the hands of England in Rotorua during the recently completed Women’s International Rugby series. Senior player and Manawatu fullback Selica Winiata insists on taking the positives from that encounter.
Winiata (Ngāti Raukawa) says, “I think it brings more confidence, rather than negativity. It's always hard to take a loss, especially on home soil.”
“I think that's amped the girls, their anger, and their urgency to training as well,” says Faamausilu.
The team has the right balance of youth and experience. Two players who made an impact on their debut are North Harbour lock Becky Wood, and Auckland Second-Five Eight Theresa Fitzpatrick, who has made the transition to the team from sevens.
Fitzpatrick says, “All the girls here have very high standards, and so I just knew that if I just tried as hard as I could, put everything on the field, it would be ok.”
“Just being able to play 80 minutes for your debut, starting, you know, not coming off the bench was just awesome,” says Wood.
The experience of touring Ireland last year will no doubt benefit the Black Ferns as they attempt to win back the title they have not won since 2010.
Faamausili says, “The culture that they have, and the people are amazing. We're looking forward to it.”
“We went there end of last year. To be fair, they were really welcoming to us. But, we're going over there to do one job, and one job only and that is to take that World Cup,” says Winiata.
The Black Ferns have one last camp before they depart for the World Cup in August.