Black Ferns wary of "significantly improved" Wallaroos

Womens International
by Iain Payten in Japan

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore says the 2019 Wallaroos will be the strongest side they’ve ever faced in trans-Tasman challenges on the back of Super W and the Japan series.

Unlike previous years where they’ve "gone in cold", the Wallaroos played a two-Test series against the Japanese in the lead-up.

Moore said he watched both Tests, and along with being impressed with the courageous Japanese, the Kiwi coach said it was clear the Wallaroos have upped their game from previous years.

"I think they have improved a lot,” Moore said.

"We have obviously watched all that footage really closely and I took particular interest in the Super Rugby they played over here.

"With that there has been significant improvement and the better the competition the better they’re getting,

"They have some big athletes so I expect them to be far better than what we have seen before, and we will have to really be on our mettle.”

Black Ferns captain Lesley Elder echoed the thoughts of her coach, saying the growth of women’s sports in Australia across all codes was a good sign.

"Australia seem to be leading the way in terms of women in sports,” Elder said.

"The growth that we have seen in Australia (rugby) over the last couple of years has really skyrocketed and they obviously have an awesome coaching group, too. 

"I see Stephen Larkham is in there, so a bit of rugby legend. So obviously there is a lot going on in the background to make women’s rugby better and that’s only good for the international game as well.”

For their part, the Wallaroos have taken strong interest in the Black Ferns’ form in the recent Super Series in the USA.

France beat the world no.1 side but Elder said they’d addressed all the issues arising from that tournament.

"That’s cool if that’s what they’re basing their gameplan and how they’re going to play against us,” Elder said.

"But I guess for us against the French we gifted them three tries, so we know we had a part to play in giving them that win.

"We definitely know there is more than we can offer and we have challenged each other to lift another 30 per cent because we know we left a lot out on the field in San Diego. 

"So have put that pressure on ourselves and we are demanding more."