Black Ferns vow to "turn the heat up" on Wallaroos in Auckland

Womens International
by Emma Greenwood

Already humbled by a New Zealand thumping in Perth, the Wallaroos face an even sterner test in Auckland this week, with the world no.1 Black Ferns vowing to "turn the heat up" in the return fixture.

The Black Ferns won the opening leg of the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy 47-10, to maintain their unbeaten record against Australia.

But Kiwi captain Les Elder said her side would look to snuff out any chance of the Wallaroos causing an upset at Ellis Park.

the Black Ferns have vowed to raise the bar again in their Auckland encounter against the Wallaroos. Photo: Rugby.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

"We're always looking to be better, we demand excellence in our environment and next week we'll be looking to do that," Elder said.

"There were a couple of times where they had us under the pump so we'll look at that to make sure we're not letting that stuff come into the game."

The Wallaroos had horrible issues with their lineout but found parity, if not dominance at times, in the scrum and want to build on that over the next week to ensure they are at their best in Auckland.

Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton said Australia played into the Black Ferns' hands turning over the pill on too many occasions and slowing the game down when they did manage to hang on to the ball.

But she saw some positive signs.

Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton on the burst against the Black Ferns. Photo: Rugby.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

"I thought our scrum did really well and even though we didn't execute the lineout, we tested that lineout going to the back," Hamilton said.

"If we can execute that well and improve that for  next week, I think it will be a really good contest."

But coming off a loss to France in the US last month, Elder said her side was determined not to let Australia get a whiff.

"We don't like losing, so it was important for us to learn from the loss, which I think we did," Elder said.

"We went through a pretty thorough process - the leadership group and management group - to make sure we got the right learnings out of that loss and we bounced back against England and we've taken it to a whole new level again (in Perth)."

 

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore, reinforced his captain's view, saying his team was always striving to improve and was not content with their Perth performance.

"We've got to get better," Moore said of this Saturday's Test.

"We talk all the time about performance and the last performance is never good enough and we've got to be able to turn the heat up a little bit next week."

Eden Park has been a cursed venue for the Wallabies for more than 30 years and the Black Ferns are determined to make it a graveyard for the Wallaroos as well despite acknowledging the Aussies' recent improvement.

"We were very clear I our mind that the Australians have improved a lot since last year," Moore said.

 

"We've watched very carefully their development through the super series (Super W) that they play and we think that that's helped progress their game.

"And they certainly showed some good signs against the Japanese side."

But Hamilton is not deterred.

"We need to improve … but we have it in us and I know we can be better than that," the Wallaroos captain said.

"So we've just got to maintain our composure and work hard this week leading into Eden Park.

"As soon as we get that confidence with ball in hand, I think we'll be really good."