Birmingham Commonwealth Games: White Ferns eager to erase World Cup nightmare with gold in England

As far as White Ferns captain Sophie Devine's bucket list items go, winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games would be right up there. 

"You don’t want to sound like too much of a nuffie, but it's almost a dream come true," Devine told Newshub.

But the allure of topping the podium is also a grateful and welcome distraction, after the nightmare of the White Ferns' failure at the recent women's World Cup, when they failed to advance past the group stage on home soil.

Devine insisted the frustrations of that campaign are now - almost - in the past. 

"I think so," Devine said, when asked if she'd put it behind her. "But every time you bring it up, it still hurts a little bit, which I think is fair enough."

Allrounder Amelia Kerr had plenty of time to think about that pain during her week in self-isolation, after testing positive for COVID-19.

"I'm on a managed load at the moment, coming back from COVID," Kerr said. "But all in all, I'm feeling pretty good."

Coach Ben Sawyer's local knowledge means he will be heavily leaned on during the Games. He coached Birmingham Phoenix in the innovative Hundred competition, meaning he knows the quirks of the Edgbaston venue well.

The Australian's intel will be warmly welcomed but his former players - many of whom will represent England - have been less hospitable. 

"It was a bit awkward seeing some of them at breakfast this morning," Sawyer admitted. "But hey, I'd love nothing more than to play against them."

Join us for live updates of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, starting Friday.