Commonwealth Games: Black Ferns Sevens emerge stronger from adversity

They say what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger - just ask the Black Ferns Sevens.

"It's been an emotional ride," says rugby star Portia Woodman.

The world champion NZ women's side will make their Commonwealth Games debut on Friday, without another of their stars - Ruby Tui - who has had to withdraw with a case of mumps that saw her and her teammates quarantined on the Sunshine Coast.

"Yeah, it's a big loss and a big hole to fill, but we've done that really well and it's only going to make us stronger," says coach Alan Bunting.

Woodman knows Tui wouldn't want the Black Ferns to use her loss as motivation - but they are.

"She is our rock to our team," says Woodman. "She's our glue to make all the girls stick together."

But despite all the off-field distractions, things are clicking on it.

"Momentum, training intensity, intent, all the energy the players have brought - there's been emotion and that's normal," observes Bunting.

But there's just one small concern - Woodman is going to need her voice back before tomorrow rolls around.

"Tell me about it," she laughs. "I don't know what's going on.

"I think I try and say 'don't talk, don't talk', but it just doesn't help. It doesn't help that I like singing too."

After six weeks of gruelling training, the main event can't come soon enough.

"Yeah, we can't wait," says Woodman. "It's been a long time since we played against other people.

"We're sick of playing against ourselves - let's play against other people."

Starting against Kenya and South Africa, these women now have a chance to create their own Commonwealth Games legacy.

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