Ahead of the opening Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 match between the Black Ferns of New Zealand and Kazakhstan, the defending champions have named a strong side.
The team named by coach Brian Evans features a wealth of experience and amongst the players to run out against the Nomads are captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili, halfback Emma Jensen and loose-forward Casey Robertson who enter their fourth Rugby World Cup competition.
This experience will be key for a team which faces the extra pressure of defending four consecutive Rugby World Cup wins according to Evans.
“This is an awesome achievement for these players and we are very fortunate to have their experience and calm heads inside the team environment," said the Black Ferns head coach.
“We had quite a condensed assembly before we left New Zealand but we’ve had a really good preparation on the ground here and now the girls are just itching to get out there and play.
“We don’t know a lot about Kazakhstan but they played in the last World Cup and we know that they are big and fit so we need to be prepared because we know that teams bring something extra when they play against the black jersey.”
In the finals of the last three competitions, England have been denied the sought after title of Women's Rugby World Cup Winners but captain Katy Mclean says that a New Zealand v England final, is far from a forgone conclusion.
"There are a lot of fantastic sides in this world cup and it's probably going to be the most open World Cup that you're going to get. There are going to be a lot of team knocking on the door of the top four to compete for that World Cup Trophy."
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