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How the 'Black Ferns legacy' inspired 'dream' RWC final win

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Hannah Peters - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

World Cup winner Theresa Fitzpatrick said the Black Ferns played for the “really special” legacy of the jersey in Saturday’s final, and the players who paved the way for their ground-breaking achievement.


The Black Ferns inspired the nation throughout their epic run at their home World Cup, which ended with an incredible 34-31 upset win over England at Eden Park yesterday.

With rugby guru Wayne Smith coaching the team, the Black Ferns were able to complete a fascinating tale of redemption with the win in front of more than 40,000 supporters.

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The World Cup decider came down to the wire, and while England had a chance to potentially steal the match at the end, the Black Ferns held on to end the Red Roses’ 30-Test unbeaten streak.

Speaking after the final, star inside centre Fitzpatrick spoke about the legacy of the Black Ferns and how much of a motivator and influence that is for the playing group.

“The Black Ferns legacy is really special. The past players who have worn the jersey before us have paved the way for us to be able to play and for us to be able to play in front of a crowd like we did tonight,” Fitzpatrick told RugbyPass.

“It wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t pave that pathway for us.


“We played a little bit for them too. We’ve got the Black Ferns crest on our hearts, and we take every single person who’s been with in it with us on the field.”

The Black Ferns started their World Cup title defnece at Eden Park against rivals Australia – but things didn’t go to plan right away.

Australia raced out to an early 17-nil lead which left the Auckland crowd stunned, but the Black Ferns rallied to win quite comfortably in the end.

New Zealand scored 209 points during their first four matches at the World Cup, before facing France in the semi-finals.


The Black Ferns had lost to France twice by emphatic scores during their Northern Tour last November, but the form book went out the window in front of a passionate New Zealand crowd.

With the country behind them, the women in black held on a tough one-point win – bringing back memories of the All Blacks’ win over Les Bleus at the World Cup 11 years earlier.

But a final against World No. 1 England was always going to be another step up, and after going behind my two converted tries early, it seemed like the Red Roses were ready to run away with it.

A red card to Lydia Thompson inside the first 20 minutes was a game changing moment for both teams – with New Zealand eventually taking the lead early in the second half.

The World Cup came down to the final moment of the Test, the last to win it all for both teams, and it was the home side who hung on.

“It’s still sinking in, it’s still sinking in. I’m just so proud of the girls, so proud of the team and just a big, huge thank you to everyone that supported us throughout the campaign.

“We couldn’t have done it without the support of our nation so just really, really happy.

“They got us through a few of the moments in the game. To hear the Black Ferns being chanted at Eden Park, at a sold-out stadium, it was like a dream. It was like a dream playing out there.”

As for the Red Roses, it’s the second consecutive World Cup final they’ve lost to the Black Ferns after they were beaten in Belfast five years ago.

England star Emily Scarratt said the Red Roses showed “a hell of a lot of heart” to stay in the fight after Thompson was red carded in the 17th-minute.

“I thought we managed parts of it really, really well. Considering the threat they posed out wide and obviously having lost a winger, I thought we dealt with it really well at times,” Thompson told RugbyPass.

“Not all the time but that’s probably an inevitability given (we were) down to 14 players.

“There was a hell of a lot of heart shown out there by the girls. It’s never easy playing that long with one player, less against such a quality side.

“All credit to them they pulled through when it mattered and we just came up a little bit short.”


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