“We’ll have nothing to lose,” Griese said before half-time against New Zealand

“We’ll have nothing to lose,” Griese said before half-time against New Zealand

After beating Italy in the quarter-finals (39-3) this Saturday, the New Zealand national team will face the New Zealand national team in the semi-finals next week at Eden Park in Auckland. Whether it’s the French or the Black Ferns, we’re already looking forward to this match.

Whether it’s for women or men, France and New Zealand always make mouths water. Next Saturday, the blue team will face a team that has regained its luster since the double confrontation last fall. The Black Ferns (the title of the New Zealand women’s team) lost to Pau (38-13), then to Custer (29-7).

Since then, the Kiwis have changed their staff, including hiring Wayne Smith, a former member of the All Blacks’ coaching staff over the past decade, as coach. And he took the mayonnaise, a transformation occurred and the black fern once again inspired fear before confronting him.

“An entire country will be behind the black fern.”

It will be a real test for Thomas Darach and his players next Saturday. That face a nation in full swing in a 42,000-seat stadium obtained from the home team. “We will play against a nation that defends its colors and its country. It will be amazing. An entire country will be behind our competitors,” Gael Hermit said at the end of the quarter-final between France and Italy.

“We couldn’t have dreamed of a better semi-final. All rugby players and rugby women dream of it,” exulted Joanna Griese, author of the hat-trick against Italy. For Caroline Drouin, having already been defeated in the past will necessarily help: “We know what it feels like to win them. We wouldn’t have the same pressure. We’d be in her place and we’d have nothing to lose.”

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“It’s a semi-final against an own team.”

Among the Blacks Ferns, the excitement of the semi-final match between New Zealand and France is similar to that of Les Bleues. “Against England, France showed how good their defense was. It will be a great challenge, but I can’t wait because it’s a semi-final against an own team,” confirmed third-row Sarah Herrini afterwards. In the quarter-finals he beat Wales.

Blacks Ferns assistant coach Wesley Clark said, “The New Zealanders’ excitement about this trophy is really special. I’ve coached women’s rugby for 20 years, and I never expected to see this one day.” Next Saturday, Eden Park should see its 42,000 seats filled for this semi-final, further evidence of the evolution of women’s rugby.

Gauthier Baudin, in New Zealand

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