Black Ferns looking to Win on, and off the Field
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 26: New Zealand Black Ferns celebrate their victory during the Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 Final betwen England and New Zealand at the Kingspan Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Belfast, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

With several Test matches coming up, and three more International fixtures secured in 2018, the New Zealand Black Ferns are looking to Win on and off the Field.

The news is looking good all around for women’s rugby in New Zealand [and across the globe]. A popular side, they have just played a women’s-version of the ‘Game of three halves’ trial game – the All Blacks played Friday/the Black Ferns played on Saturday. And both teams traveled to Australia on Sunday, to prepare for the Bledisloe Cup double header; Australia v New Zealand.

As well, the Farah Palmer Cup is about to kick-off, with a full calendar of matches. And the icing on the top, might be a successful bid for the 2021 Rugby World Cup hosting rights.

Black Ferns looking to Win on and off the Field

Winning has not just occurred on the field for the Black Ferns. Now a five time World Champion team, they have been the banner side for the advancement of women’s rugby. An ideal in both the XVs and 7s formats, where they now house both in the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) headquarters.

In between welcoming home the Black Ferns Sevens champions, assembling the XVs training squad for the upcoming tour was a priority for head coach Glenn Moore. The team will play the first game since their triumph in Belfast, last August. Moore said in an NZR media release;

“We have a great mix of youth and experience with 17 players from the 2017 World Cup winning squad and eight very exciting newcomers. They have been working hard in their clubs and provinces to secure a spot in this squad and we’ve seen some real progress in skill level and fitness since last year’s World Cup.

“The motivation to be selected has been obvious.” – Glenn Moore.

New Zealand players now lead the pathway in professional contracts for women rugby players. That achievement offers a select few reimbursement while training [and studying] as they support families, even while some still hold down regular roles.

A far cry from the past, but in recognition of those trailblazers, those women are still being ‘capped’ in a series of functions that will run in conjunction to the teams schedule during August;

  • Australia v New Zealand – August 18, ANZ Stadium. Kick-off 5:15pm (AUT)

  • New Zealand v Australia – August 25, Eden Park. Kick-off 5:00pm (NZT)

One half of the Bledisloe Cup matches – sharing the bill with the Wallabies and All Blacks – though, some may even come specifically to watch the Wallaroos v Black Ferns, such is the popularity of the women’s game/team.

Black Ferns confirm November Internationals schedule

After they complete that double-header match series, the Black Ferns will return to the Farah Palmer Cup. At the conclusion of that competition in October, the Ferns will reassemble before three end-of-year matches.

Black Ferns Northern Tour Schedule

Test match 1:
USA v New Zealand – Sunday, November 4. Soldier Field, Chicago
Test match 2:
France v New Zealand – Friday 9 November 9. Stade Felix Mayol, Toulon
Test match 3:
France v New Zealand – Saturday 17 November. Stade des Alpes, Grenoble

The five game 2018 calendar is a boost over previous years. While the Rugby World Cup always see’s an increase in fixtures, it is hoped that the annual Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy series against the Wallaroos becomes a yearly date.

Australian and New Zealand women’ players pose with the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial trophy after the International Women’s Test match between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the Australian Wallaroos at Rugby Park on June 13, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

Add in two or three test tours to Northern hemisphere nations like Japan or Canada, and the next few years could all lead towards a crescendo.

New Zealand Rugby aim to host 2021 RWC

What could top all of the success; the Women’s Rugby World Cup, Women’s Sevens RWC and hugely popular Farah Palmer Cup, there is one ingredient which might be the perfect topping for all of those tantalising pieces. A Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) hosted at home.

This is now the dream of NZR and stakeholders of the women’s game. The bid has been submitted to World Rugby, and momentum is gearing up. Many of the key factors have already been confirmed, and used to promote the 2021 bid;

  • Auckland and Whangarei confirmed as host cities if bid successful
  • New Zealand Government supports New Zealand Rugby in bid
  • Possibility of Pacific Island women’s rugby tournament
  • WRWC could be held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time

With so much positive feeling out in the community, it might be the perfect time – support from the government confirmed in an media release from NZR. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the New Zealand Government fully supports the bid by NZR to host the WRWC2021 in New Zealand.

“We would be thrilled for the event to be held here. New Zealand is the home of women’s rugby, the Black Ferns captured our imaginations again when they won their fifth World Cup title last year, and our entire country would get behind the tournament and all the teams participating.”

NZR board member Dr Farah Palmer ambitious to host WRWC

Dr Farah Palmer, a current board member of NZR and when Black Ferns captain, Palmer led the team to three successive World Cup titles between 1998 and 2006. In her position, she is well placed to understand how the WRWC can empower players and grow the game.

“The WRWC2021 provides New Zealand with an opportunity to continue to grow the Black Ferns legacy, inspire women globally, encourage girls and women around the world to pick up a rugby ball

“It also provides opportunities to develop women’s rugby in the Asia-Pacific region. NZR is highly experienced in the operational planning and delivery of world class events with sustainable commercial returns.”

Teams sing their national anthems prior to kickoff during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Wales and Namibia at Stadium Taranaki on September 26, 2011 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Such high powered backing is a positive. It means that World Rugby will look positively on the bid involving the Black Ferns hosting the 2021 event – however, after the sensational judgement to award France the 2023 men’s tournament…..anything is possible.

What the women who wear the Black Ferns jersey can control, is their play on-the-field. Off of it, that will be determined by administrators. But the crowds and fans who cheer on the women know that, by their deeds, they deserve all the accolades and the continuing recognition.

A decision on the host nation will be made by the World Rugby Council on 14 November 2018.

 

“Main photo credit”
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