Matches mat­ter most for Black Ferns

At a glance

Waikato Times - - Sport - Olivia Cald­well olivia.cald­well@stuff.co.nz

As the Black Ferns are end­ing their first sea­son as paid pro­fes­sion­als, coach Glenn Moore says while money has been re­im­burse­ment for hard­ship, more qual­ity games are what’s re­ally needed.

In April, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) an­nounced that the XVs women would be paid to play for the first time.

With train­ing camps, match fees and re­tain­ers com­bined, lead­ing play­ers could earn be­tween $30,000 and $45,000.

While an im­prove­ment, Moore says play­ers give up a large amount of their so­cial, work and fam­ily lives to wear the black jer­sey.

‘‘To be hon­est I just see it as be­ing a re­im­burse­ment for some of the sac­ri­fices they have to make. Get­ting some time off their job to be able to train, it’s a big sac­ri­fice,’’ Moore said.

‘‘I don’t re­call ever hear­ing [con­tracts] talked about in here, the only thing I hear talked about is the pride in the jer­sey.’’

Glenn Moore, Black Ferns coach

Time train­ing – with the team and in­di­vid­u­ally – is de­mand­ing for an ath­lete who isn’t a full­time pro­fes­sional and has to fit in a full­time job.

‘‘If you’re go­ing through train­ing pro­grammes it means you’re go­ing to be a lit­tle later for work. You need an em­ployer who is go­ing to be flex­i­ble for help and you need the abil­ity to cover some of that in­come that you lose.’’

As head coach when the Black Ferns won the World Cup in 2017, and again for the year of the pay cheque, Moore says money has helped, but to im­prove his side needs more than that.

‘‘To keep get­ting bet­ter we need more com­pe­ti­tion and we need more com­pe­ti­tion against the big play­ers. It’s like any sport, the more time you get against good com­pe­ti­tion with high in­ten­sity and phys­i­cal­ity – it makes us bet­ter.

‘‘In all hon­esty, I don’t re­call ever hear­ing [con­tracts] talked about in here, the only thing I hear talked about is the pride in the jer­sey and the most im­por­tant part is rep­re­sent­ing the brand re­spect­fully.

‘‘I’m guess­ing for some of the ones get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion, it’s prob­a­bly the dif­fer­ence of be­ing able to go and train and maybe not have to work, wait­ress­ing at night sort of thing.

‘‘They are ob­vi­ously very ap­pre­cia­tive, but the only thing I ever hear men­tioned is the pride of play­ing in the jer­sey.’’

The Black Ferns ar­rived in France on Mon­day this week, with just four more days to re­cover af­ter their test match against the USA in Chicago. From Paris, they took the five-hour train trip to Toulon.

Moore ex­pected the French to be phys­i­cal in the for­wards and the Six Na­tions win­ners to test his side more than they were last week­end in the USA.

‘‘We re­alise they’ve got a big pack and a re­ally phys­i­cal pack. We want to play the game with high in­ten­sity through­out the game, that gives us abil­ity to make ex­tra re­place­ments in the for­wards,’’ he said.

‘‘These guys will be for­mi­da­ble op­po­nents, but we are al­ways back­ing our­selves to win no mat­ter who we play. We are look­ing for­ward to the match. We are re­spect­ful of them, but that’s where it starts and fin­ishes.’’

Moore has named one debu­tante – flanker Mar­celle Parkes, 20, from Welling­ton – in the lineup, while Hawke’s Bay’s Krys­ten Cot­trell will start at first five-eighth, with Rua­hei De­mant mov­ing out one spot to sec­ond five.

Parkes had been go­ing from strength to strength in train­ing and was ready to make her mark on the big stage, Moore pre­dicted.

The Black Ferns re­serves will be made up of six for­wards and two backs, a proven com­bi­na­tion from last year’s World Cup.

Black Ferns flanker Linda Itunu will re­tire fol­low­ing the Black Ferns’ se­ries against France. A 37-test vet­eran, she will come off the bench in the first test in Toulon to­day. Black Ferns: Phillipa Love, Fiao’o Faa­mausili (cap­tain), Al­dora Itunu, Eloise Black­well, Char­maine Smith, Les Elder, Aroha Sav­age, Ken­dra Cocksedge, Krys­ten Cot­trell, Aye­sha Leti-I’iga, Rua­hei De­mant, Stacey Waaka, Re­nee Wick­liffe, Sel­ica Wini­ata. Re­serves: Te Kura NgataAerenga­mate, Leilani Perese, Aleisha-Pearl Nel­son, Jackie PateaFereti, Linda Itunu, Mar­celle Parkes, Kristina Sue, Mon­ica Tagoai. Kick­off: 9am to­day

GETTY IM­AGES

Glenn Moore works with the Black Ferns dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion in Syd­ney this year, when they have be­come a pro­fes­sional team for the first time.

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