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Preview: Black Ferns v USA

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allblacks.com     17 Aug 2014     Getty Images

Veteran loose forward Casey Robertson along with outside-backs Amiria Rule and Claire Richardson all intend to retire following Sunday’s fifth and sixth play-off against the USA; and that’s added motivation for the team according to coach Brian Evans.

“There’s a huge amount of mana for those people in the team,” he said.

“So I’m sure the team will work really hard to put on a good performance for them.”

Blockbusting second-five Rule debuted for the Ferns as a teenager back in 2000 and at 31-years-old believes the time is now right to focus on her family.

“It’s given me so much this game and I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” she said.

“I’ve got two little ones and my husband, the poor thing, he’s been at home for probably a good three months with the kids by himself this year, so it’s time to focus on the family.”

Rule says the disappointment of not qualifying for the finals this time around has put into perspective the team’s achievement of previously winning four straight titles.

“It’s happened and it’s done and even though we’re only playing for fifth position, you still want to go out there and serve the jersey well.”

“This team has a really strong culture and I will definitely miss that camaraderie,” Rule added.

The back-line that ran riot over Wales during the week has been retained for the final match, with exciting 22-year-old playmaker Victoria Subrtizky-Nafatali retaining the number ten jersey.

Up front there’s been a couple of tweaks with props Ruth McKay and Stephanie Te O'Hare-Fox recalled to the front row, while in-form lock Eloise Blackwell returns to the second row.

Outgoing number eight Robertson sat out the last game with a sore back and has done everything in her power to make her way back onto the bench for a last hurrah.

“She’s worked very hard and shaped up pretty well,” coach Evans said.

“We were tempted to start her, but we think, again - the players did the job against Wales really really well.”

After being comfortably beaten 34-3 in earlier pool-play, Evans is expecting the Americans to bring something different to the table for the final showdown.

“I think they’ll move it around a bit more given that first game where we held them try-less,” he said.

And while a little more running is predicted, Evans knows the battle will be won up front against arguably the biggest side at the World Cup.

“They’re big and strong and they’re very fit ... so the breakdown and the contact areas are crucial against a team like that.

“They love that physical stuff but so do our girls so it will be a good battle,” he added.

The Black Ferns kick-off against the USA at 12:15am Monday morning (NZT) with the final of the tournament between England and Canada being played fours hour later at the sold-out Stade Jean Bouin in Paris.