NZ Herald

The Black Ferns have turned to Olympic weightlifting and wrestling in a bid to get an advantage over their opponents ahead of next year’s women’s Rugby World Cup.


A squad of 40 players have trained with Tokyo Olympics hopeful Megan Gifford and Weightlifting New Zealand High-Performance Director Simon Kent at a three-day training camp in Auckland this week.

Veteran Kendra Cocksedge, who was part of the 2010 and 2017 World Cup-winning squads, said it was a welcome change of scene from their usual training tactics.

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The team from Sky Sport NZ talk to coach of the Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore, reflect on the life of one of the greats of NZ rugby and look ahead to the final two rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

“It’s something different, to get off the field and learn something new,” Cocksedge said.

“With us in camp, we tend to just be rugby, rugby, rugby so it’s nice to come away from the field and get into a gym and learn from the best.”

Although having thrown her share of tin around in the past, Cocksedge said it was beneficial having expert eyes to critique her form.

“I can’t say that my technique is ace so I’ve been fine-tuning bits and pieces,” she said. “We’ve been doing Olympic lifting down in Canterbury for a while so it’s just about fine-tuning that technique and being taught by professionals.


“We want to do it in the gym and so we want to practice that stuff to build up and get stronger.”

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore said the team had also been training in wrestling, which was shaping up to be a key part of their World Cup preparation.

“We’ve had groups working with wrestling coaches, ultimately we’re hoping it’s going to make us stronger,” he said.

“One of the areas we wanted to target was being stronger and we like to play a game that’s played at intensity but it’s also about explosive power for us so we’re just looking for little areas where we can get an edge.”


The Black Ferns were due to play tests last month which were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is hoped international tests will be arranged for later in the year but nothing has yet been confirmed. Auckland and Whangarei will host the World Cup next year.

This article first appeared on and is republished with permission.

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