9 Aug 2017

Black Ferns countdown to World Cup opener

8:02 am on 9 August 2017

World Cup game against Wales in Dublin tonight.

There's a mix of experience and youth named in the New Zealand women's rugby side for their opening

World Cup game against Wales in Dublin tonight.

Captain Fiao'o Faamausili leads the team in her fifth World Cup, while there are others returning for their second or third Cup, and some who have a handful of Test matches under their belts.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili takes a selfie with American skipper Tiffany Faaee.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili takes a selfie with American skipper Tiffany Faaee. Photo: Photosport

Newcomer Becky Wood will start at lock having impressed coach Glenn Moore with her strength and skill level.

"Becky is a total workhorse and thoroughly deserves her start despite her lack of Test caps. She has continued to raise the bar of her performance every week.

"This team has real depth and I'm confident we have the mix right. Our reserves will be critical too. They will come out and make a significant change to the game. I'm excited to see this team go."

Moore said the Black Ferns were receiving lots of messages of support from home which was helping them keep focussed on the job at hand.

"We've got a job to do and that's to put together a performance that we're all proud of. If we can achieve that then the outcome will take care of itself," he said.

Moore said the team had acclimatised well since arriving in Dublin and the four days in camp before flying out had meant their preparation had been thorough.

"The team is ready to go. The feeling in the camp is one of genuine excitement and our trainings have had a real steely edge and focus."

Rugby World Cup performances:

Best finish: Champions (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010)

Worst finish: Fifth (2014)

Women's Rugby World Cup record: Played 27 / Won 25 / Lost 2

The team is: (number of Test matches in brackets):

Toka Natua, Fiao'o Faamausili (c), Aldora Itunu, Eloise Blackwell, Rebecca Wood, Charmaine Smith, Sarah Goss, Aroha Savage, Kendra Cocksedge, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, Renee Wickliffe, Kelly Brazier, Stacey Waaka, Portia Woodman, Selica Winiata.

Reserves: Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Sosoli Talawadua, Aotearoa Mata'u, Lesley Ketu, Charmaine McMenamin, Kristina Sue, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Carla Hohepa.

New Zealand also play Hong Kong and Canada in their pool.