Everything had not started ideally in this World Cup for the host nation. Led 17-0 after thirty minutes by Australia in their first match, New Zealand have since swept away everything in their path, starting with their oceanic neighbor (41-17), before humiliating Wales ( 56-12) and Scotland (57-0), then to iron out the Leek players yesterday (55-3), in a quarter-final which only had the name and the atmosphere, but not really the tension.
The Smith Effect
Seeing this Black Ferns team play is a bit like watching the demo of a PlayStation game: everything is sharp, fast, efficient. We would almost forget that a year ago, the selection was crushed four times in a row, by England (43-12, 56-15) then France (38-13, 29-7) during a tour that shed light on coach Glenn Moore’s questionable training methods.
Accused by several players of Maori origin or from the Pacific Islands of having made discriminatory remarks against them, the technician resigned in April and his replacement, the prestigious Wayne Smith, a staff member of the All Blacks for the past two decades, successfully put things right. Stars like Ruby Tui, legend of the world circuit at 7, or Portia Woodman, brand new record holder for the number of tries registered in the World Cup (men and women combined), evolve on another planet and carry with them the whole group.
The players, stars of the country
In the country of rugby, the fans are once again looking enamored with their selection, five-time world champion (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2017), and the faces of the players are displayed on large billboards. A living legend in New Zealand, the third-line Sarah Hirini, returned to fifteen after a long spell at 7, revels in the atmosphere that reigns around the Black Ferns. “It’s so amazing what’s going on right now.she confided, moved, after the quarter-final. The World Cup is changing the sport in New Zealand. We have been waiting for this competition for a very long time. The support is amazing. Whatever happens in the last four, this competition has an impact in the country, with the little girls and boys who identify with our team. That’s all I want, for this sport to grow even more. »
“It’s very positive for women’s rugbymeanwhile greeted the assistant coach of the Black Ferns, Wesley Clarke. Twenty years ago, we could not imagine such enthusiasm. Children, girls and boys, know all the players and want to become like them. It’s fantastic. » Les Bleues will therefore not face a team next Saturday at Eden Park. It will be a question of spoiling the party of a whole country.