Black Ferns eye fifth consecutive cup win
July 31, 2014
Ready for battle, the team captains lined up for a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower © International Rugby Board
Captain Fiao'o Faamausili says the Black Ferns will need to discount past history as they look to defend their women's rugby World Cup title in France. The New Zealanders are lining up for their fifth consecutive title at the 12-team tournament which begins on Saturday (NZT).
"We're all here for the same reason, to win the World Cup. There's definitely pressure there but it's how we deal with it," Faamausili said. "We've told the girls not to think about what's happened in the past, it's about what happens now. We are taking each match as it comes and just enjoying it."
There's plenty of experience in the squad, led by Huriana Manuel, a veteran of the 2006 and 2010 title defences. Manuel also led New Zealand to back-to-back sevens world series title, and was part of the team which won the first Rugby World Cup Sevens title last year in Moscow. There's also plenty of verstality in the Black Ferns squad, including inside back Kelly Brazier, backrower Linda Itunu and utility back Selica Winiata.
New Zealand have been drawn in Pool B alongside the United States, Ireland and Kazakhstan, while title hopefuls England are in Pool A with Canada, Spain and Samoa. Pool C comprises Australia, France, Wales and South Africa.
New Zealand's first game is against Kazakhstan.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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