A sold-out World Cup final awaits the Black Ferns

rugby world cup

It wasn’t pretty, but it changed the face of women’s rugby as the Black Ferns reached the World Cup final, with Suzanne McFadden drawing sold-out crowds to Eden Park for a long-awaited clash with England. I am reporting that

If you want tickets to the biggest show of the year, the Rugby World Cup final, you’re out of luck.

Within minutes of the Black Ferns’ landslide 25-24 victory over France, ticket sales for next Saturday’s dream New Zealand-England final match were ballistic.

Within an hour, the only seats left were “restricted view” seats. A ticket that no one wants in a match like this. It was a sold out Eden Park on Sunday morning. who would have thought?

This moment in Black Ferns history may have changed the tide for women’s rugby. In a country where gaming is the state religion, people long to finally join the women’s game. Witness the most successful rugby team in World Cup history against a northern hemisphere team unbeaten in 30 tests.

But whatever happens next weekend, playing in front of more than 40,000 fans last Saturday will be remembered as one of the greatest days in women’s rugby history.

First of all, both semi-finals were great examples of the women’s game, but in different ways.England’s 26-19 loss to Canada was tougher than you might imagine. The intrepid Canadian pushed the Red Rose aside during his 80 minutes of hard work.

Abby Dow’s stunning counter-attacking try that ultimately sealed England’s place in the final has been hailed as one of the best tries in international rugby. Just seven months before him, the English winger arrived in New Zealand racing the clock after suffering a bad broken leg in a test against Wales. She made all the pain and struggle worth it.

The Black Ferns and France then produced what rugby legend Wayne Smith called: It was just wonderful. But it was also the match that really tested his ticker.

Stacey Fuller scored the first try for the Black Ferns against France in the RWC2021 semi-final at Eden Park.Photo: Hagen Hopkins/World Rugby

In front of an Eden Park crowd of 22,000 (half French fans, half New Zealanders), the Black Ferns were defeated 10-0 after almost half an hour. They finally broke through the seemingly impenetrable blue wall when Stacey Fleurer scored down the left flank, but the defending champions trailed 17–10 at halftime.

In the 2017 World Cup final, he was down by a break (and of course, ended up winning 41-32).

The atmosphere in the changing rooms at Eden Park was the same as it was at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium five years ago, said halfback Kendra Coxsedge. We all knew what had to be done. “

After Black Ferns head coach Smith urged the exciting attacking side to add more kicks, the Black Ferns began to put kicks through, testing the legendary French defense. A spectacular kick and chase try (Lenny Holmes grabbed and Ruby Tui pounced – a change of momentum, says Cocksedge), followed by Teresa Fitzpatrick scoring from a lineout drive to make the final. I put the home team in front. on time.

Fireworks literally exploded behind them when vice-captain Ruahei Demant scored a penalty to give the Black Ferns an eight-point advantage. However, the French attacked relentlessly and the mighty No. 8 Simone Menager had just one point when he scored his second try of the night.

Momentum seemed to be going in the direction of the Black Ferns. Notably, the French playmaker Safi his Endiae propped the young Black Ferns He Sant He was high on Taumata Yellow He was carded for a tackle he was reduced to 14 men.

What happened next was the ‘where were you when?’ New Zealand sporting moment.

Black Fern Sant Taumata were shown a yellow card by referee Joy Neville. Photo: Getty Images.

Sinned in ’79 with Thaumatath A minute after an accidental head crash, French first-five Caroline Drouin stepped up to kick a penalty some 30m outside and slightly to the right of the goalpost. Any other day, this would have been his Drouin’s sitter.

Black ferns clustered behind the stanchion as she lined it up. “We were talking about how we were going to cut the time and kick it out if…if we missed it,” says Cocksedge. “If they figured it out, we talked about taking a quick kickoff and getting the ball back. There are some talented sevens players who can get back on their feet.

“The whole team was looking up at the sky and saying, ‘Oh my God, please don’t let this go, please don’t let this go.’ [Drouin] Took it very quickly.

Former Black Ferns captain Les Elder had his hands buried in his head. “I couldn’t even look, because at that moment there was nothing the girls could do with that penalty,” she says.

Drouin appeared to kick under the ball, which backspinned and skewed to the left of the post.

Kennedy Simon, one of the Blackferns’ famous ‘sparkplugs’, got off the bench in the second half and stood under the post waiting.

“I was looking at the kicker and as soon as she hit the ball I thought ‘Oh, that’s over’ but it wasn’t. [Woodman]I was like, ‘No, I’m going to have to put up with this,'” says the vice-captain.

Wayne Smith and Kennedy Simon signed for RWC 2021 Rugby Ball after the Black Ferns won the semi-finals.Photo: Suzanne McFadden

Smith couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“When Kennedy [Simon] Catching that ball, catching that missed kick, I was yelling, “Kick, kick.”

weren’t we all?

“But then I realized I had 10 seconds left. She did the right thing. She didn’t kick it.”

Black Ferns persevered and Cocksedge checked with the umpire if time was up before finally kicking the ball into touch. Druin sat alone in despair on her side as she leaped into Aisha Letty-Iga’s arms.

“I really feel for Drouin,” says Elder. “That moment doesn’t define the Test match that France did. I know she’ll pass it on, but it just wasn’t there for her.

France’s starting five Caroline Drouin shouldn’t be blamed for France’s loss to the Black Ferns, says Les Elder. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/World Rugby.

“But oh my god, the desperation that New Zealand has shown was just inspiring. To know what they’ve been through. I’ve been a big part of what they’ve been through over the last 12 months.” .

“I think the whole of New Zealand has put this team away. So I’m very proud.”

Elder, who captained the Black Ferns on a dreaded tour of the North a year ago, losing twice to France, didn’t know how to sum up exactly how New Zealand won Saturday night’s game.

“I thought we had a pretty ugly win, actually. We tried pretty hard,” she says. “We’ve moved away from the game plan we had up until this match.

“Wayne Smith didn’t feel ashamed to say you can’t win this World Cup by playing the traditional game and felt like he was back in playing the traditional style of rugby.

“The Black Ferns take pride in playing at the top, but that was not the case this time. But the French defense was great and they forced us to play behind the game line. I let

Elder was also concerned about the match’s patch, which made the two “game managers” Demant and Cocksedge seem a little upset.

“It’s something they learn and get better next week. But in moments of pressure like that, you need a cool, calm head between the two of you,” she says.

“We won’t get away with it next week. England will defend and attack. No, and England will make us pay if we hand them the ball as they have done so many times tonight.”

Cocksedge defended her decision to make a series of quick taps out of the penalty even though everything went wrong.

“I’ve always been a tempo girl, I’ve always liked to run fast, and Smithy has always stood by me for that. He loves it too,” she says.

“If you’re tired and someone is doing quick taps all the time, it’s hard to defend. That’s why.”

Kendra Coxedge attempts her signature quick tap to fend off a French defender. Photo: Getty Images.

But sometimes her own team wasn’t ready.

“There was definitely one time that happened. Since I recorded it, I think I started to get a little tired because it was a very physically demanding match.”

Going up against Great Britain in the final clash would be just as difficult, if not more exhausting. Neither team has lost in this tournament. The Black Ferns have won 11 straight games this season.

The once-retired Smith was called up to help the battered Black Ferns team in April, but didn’t expect him to be in this position again. He was sitting in the coaching box as the Blacks beat France 8-7. But it’s also a new experience for him.

“We’re the underdogs. In fact, I’ve never been in that position before. Outside of the Crusaders, never in the All Blacks. So it’s a new feeling for me and yeah, we’re good.” I think it will be a week,” says Smith.

“Maybe we’ll have a little bit more freedom this week. I think the fact that we’re in the finals gives you the chance to really loosen up now and really go. You have nothing to lose.”

Again, that might be how the Black Ferns win their sixth World Cup. Playing a fast-paced, fluid and chaotic style.

Elder says the Black Ferns must use England’s trust to their advantage.

“When they beat England for the last time in 2019, it was a point of change for them,” she says. “I find that their mentality, the language they use, it all comes down to how good they are and their belief in how good they are.

“But at the same time, just like Black Fern, we need to harness it to fuel it and prove that we are as good, if not better.”

England’s Zoe Aldcroft will try to break through the French defenders in RWC2021 runners-up. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/World Rugby.

England coach Simon Middleton thought he didn’t care who his team played in the final, but what the Roses really wanted was to meet the defending world champions at home. rice field.

“We are here to celebrate New Zealand winning the Rugby World Cup. It gave us a try,” he says. .

England have clearly stood by them all along, but they remember driving the Black Ferns to victory in front of the family and friends who have followed them loyally in the North for the past five weeks. must be for their new fan band. The number of fans that passed through the turnstiles of this tournament just exceeded 100,000.

And there’s one player who might want it more than anyone else. Next week is the final appearance of Cocksedge, the Black Ferns’ diminutive general. After her 68th Test, she will retire as her Black Fern, the most capped player of all time.

Cocksedge was shaking as he signed autographs after the game. Upon entering her dressing room, she closed her eyes.

“Next week is going to be pretty special.

Who would deny her fairytale ending? Well, England do their best, especially with evergreen captain Sarah Hunter making her world record 140th Test.

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/lockerroom/sold-out-world-cup-final-awaits-black-ferns A sold-out World Cup final awaits the Black Ferns

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