Black Ferns "gutted" to be out of World Cup

Getty Images     11 Aug 2014     Getty Images

Even before they took to the field for their last pool match against USA early this morning, an earlier 13-all draw between England and Canada guaranteed both those countries went through to semifinals, at the expense of any last-chance for the Black Ferns.

Predictably, Black Ferns Coach Brian Evans said they were hugely disappointed.

And while the coaches knew of their fate, Evans said not all the players knew they were out of the semifinals until after their 34-3 win over USA.

“It’s hugely gutting and we’re all down about it. But at the end of the day, you know we had our fate in our hands in the game against Ireland and we didn’t nail that and we didn’t play well enough that day.

“Of all the scenarios we have pondered we knew a draw was possible but no one for a minute really thought that would be an outcome. Massively disappointing before our game, we knew the result of the Canada v England game so it was pretty hard. We didn’t tell the players unless they asked, so some of them knew and full credit to them because they performed really, really well even knowing that we were out. But the rest of the team we left it ‘til afterwards,” Evans said.

The Black Ferns – who still needed a bonus point as well as other results to go their way – put on an impressive display against USA.

“Overall I think we played well. We scored some terrific tries; probably went flat in a few patches, but credit to the USA team because they, through their forwards they put us under a lot of pressure through their one-off runners and some of our decision making wasn’t spot on, particularly kicking, it was a little bit average. But when we kept the ball in hand and we moved it wide we certainly looked classy at times.”

The focus was now on the two remaining ranking games with fifth in the world, the best that the Black Ferns can now achieve.

“We want to go out and win them. But probably more importantly we want to play really, really well to our ability. We haven’t quite played consistently or as well as we’d like at times here. However we have shown some signs of real brilliance, and some real energy and well planned, so I think the team will be determined to put on good performances. They’ll be upbeat and there are a lot of players here, they’ll will be around for a long time yet.

"The next World Cup is only three years (away), and there are some players who will be eyeing that up and will want to make a statement about that now, then get back home and start rebuilding,” Evans said.

Popular Waikato winger Honey Hireme said while hugely disappointed to be out of the World Cup, it was important to get up for their last two matches.

“It was definitely disappointing to come off after playing such a great game against USA and really starting to get into our game and how we’ve been wanting to play at this World Cup and to come off and hear the result of the Canada v England game, that was really gutting and the girls are really gutted to find out about that.

“We have to take it on the chin and go out there and play the rest of these games. It’s about losing gracefully but still putting that jersey on for the next couple of games and wearing it proudly and doing exactly what we do every time we put on that black jersey.

“We just need to lift our heads up and obviously it’s pretty rough tonight … but tomorrow we just start again. Every time we put that jersey on we wear it with pride and we go out there to play hard and represent the jersey well and the people that have been it before us.”