James Mortimer 23.Nov.2012Getty Images
Indeed, Evans felt that the coming seasons were crucial for the Black Ferns, long unchallenged as the superpower of the women’s game, feeling that other nations had caught up with the Black Ferns programme.
Heading to England will be as big a task the Black Ferns have faced in some time, beyond even the World Cup, where the number one team in the woman’s game comes up against an English side that hasn’t lost their equivalent of the Six Nations since 2006.
Every year but one since then they have also claimed the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.
In Teddington based ahead of the first Test against England, Evans spoke to leading women’s rugby website Scrum Queens saying that the extra training would help against England.
“We met last Thursday which gave us a few more days together than we are used to,” he said.
“The preparation is never as long as we would like to have but you have to just get on with it.”
England’s powerful form and recent record against the Black Ferns has given them the edge according to bookmakers, but Evans felt that the losses would be plenty of motivation for his own team.
“I would hope that the results last year will act as a bit of extra motivation for the players especially the experienced ones who were here last year and weren’t used to losing,” he said.
“I am sure that will fire them up to have the chance to put it right but we haven’t been dwelling on it really. I guess because I wasn’t part of the tour it probably helps, I don’t have any knowledge of how it went apart from watching the videos!”
Evans said the big difference was the fact that his troops were coming into camp with valuable match time behind them, with the Auckland Storm winning the Women’s National Provincial Championship earlier this year.
“That has been a huge benefit because the girls are coming into camp match fit which is something that rarely happens for us and they should benefit for that sharpness,” he said.
With the Sevens programme for women taking off in New Zealand, with the ladies featuring in the Dubai leg this weekend, the Black Ferns coach said that this hadn’t diluted his talent pool.
“I have worked closely with the Sevens programme and with Sean and I’m happy that I’ve got most of the girls I wanted to come on the tour,” he said.
“Though clearly players like Carla Hohepa and Huriana Manuel are players you’d like to have in the mix here.”