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Sleepless Ferns Ready For Big Day At Twickenham

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Fuseworks Media
Sleepless Ferns Ready For Big Day At Twickenham

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

London, Nov 21 NZPA - All Blacks Rodney So'oialo, Neemia Tialata and Jerome Kaino were the star attractions at the Black Ferns' test jersey presentations today as they eye their big rugby day at Twickenham.

The trio agreed to hand out the jerseys as the Ferns prepare for the second test against England which will immediately follow the All Blacks' bid for eight in a row against the hosts early tomorrow (NZT).

The England Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) arranged for the test to be played after the men's game, rather than before, to ensure a bigger crowd.

"They're hoping a lot of people who've travelled a way to watch the test will stay on, and we thought it was a great initiative. The girls are just so excited," said team manager Jo Coleman.

It's been a torrid week for the Ferns since the long trip from New Zealand. They beat England 16-3 in a first test at the Esher RFU grounds a week ago then walloped England A 48-3 at the same venue on Wednesday.

As the All Blacks enjoyed five-star luxury in Kensington this week, the Black Ferns were sleeping on the floor at an RAF base, 90 minutes outside London.

Some players were so uncomfortable on the soft beds that they shifted the vinyl mattresses onto the floor.

Not that they were complaining, as the RFUW moved them today to relative comfort of a Hilton hotel.

"It was pretty tough but we couldn't have known what it was like until we got there. Nothing seems to set them back, in some ways it really united the team," Coleman said.

Less than a year out from the World Cup in England, a 2-0 series victory tomorrow will again stamp the Ferns as the team to beat.

They were noticeably smaller than England and were braced for another torrid physical battle at Twickenham.

Coach Brian Evans made some late changes to his starting lineup, with prop Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox starting in place of Beth Mallard, vice-captain Amiria Rule shifting from fullback to second five-eighth and Kelly Brazier moving from the bench to fullback.

 

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