Melissa Ruscoe: Relief and joy at WRWC glory
By Melissa Ruscoe
We look back over the hugely successful Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 with victorious captain Melissa Ruscoe, who spoke to rwcwomens.com days before the Black Ferns were named Team of the Year at the New Zealand Rugby Union awards night, beating off stiff competition from the All Blacks, the Sevens and Under 20 teams for the coveted accolade.
When I look back at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 it is just with a whole sense of achievement really, it was such a huge milestone to overcome and so there is a sense of achievement that everyone did their best.
I don’t think winning this one was any harder or easier than the others. It was a completely different team and different circumstances and if anything the whole thing of it being in England added that extra pressure on both teams.
England certainly wanted to win and we wanted to beat them at their home ground and after the Black Ferns lost to them in November we definitely had a point to prove. What made it possibly harder was the fact that we hadn’t had a lot of game time before the tournament, so we knew our experience would be invaluable.
READ PAUL MORGAN'S REVIEW OF WRWC 2010 >>
I’m sure it was the final people expected or wanted to see, England versus New Zealand ... but I’m sure they’d have been happy if France had beaten us in the semi final as well! When you look back over the World Cup, probably for representation of the tournament, we were the two sides that played well and deserved to be in the final and it was a fierce game.
If anything it went really fast, although it seems a long time sitting on the sidelines for those 10 minutes [in the sin bin]! The first half I felt we dominated territory but didn’t quite turn that possession into as many points as we should have and it came out pretty close in the end.
The atmosphere at the Twickenham Stoop was just fantastic. The start of the game when we went to do our Haka and the crowd started to sing Swing Low Sweet Chariot. I think they were trying a bit of intimidation but it certainly gave us that little bit of fire in our bellies to throw our Haka out there and get straight into the game.
What stands out from the final? The start definitely with the crowd being so close, the noise. I think it was a fantastic venue, just brilliant, it was pretty much sold old and I just hope it proved to the English Rugby Union that crowds will come out and watch Women’s Rugby and hopefully they will get more crowds which will be brilliant.
The speed of the game. The physicality of the forwards, the moment when we thought Carla [Hohepa] was away and their lock mowed her down. They are two things I remember. Then having possession in the last couple of minutes and Emma [Jensen] kicking it out at the end.
It didn’t feel as though we were losing at any stage and the scoreline proves that. Although it was frustrating with players getting sent to the bin, the girls on the field just seemed to lift and to have that calmness, that edge and just to keep fighting and that gave us confidence to finish the game.
There were many factors to us coming out on top. When you get people with leadership ability that we had in that team, people like Emma at half back and Kelly [Brazier] kicking and keeping them down in their own half. Defence was always going to win it against England and from November we knew our defence had to improve and that was one of many thing we worked on.
VIDEO: Black Ferns claim another title