Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns still searching for 'complete game' as quarter-finals loom

New Zealand must still deliver consistent 80-minute performances in their remaining World Cup matches, if they want to win the title for a sixth time, insists coach Wayne Smith.

The defending champions thrashed Scotland 57-0 to all but secure top spot in the quarter-final seedings, as Australia and France joined the hosts, England and Canada in the last eight.

"I just think we played really good heads-up rugby," said former All Blacks assistant Smith. "We were really physical, which is important, really physical up front.

Sarah Hirini in action for the Black Ferns
Sarah Hirini in action for the Black Ferns. Photo credit: Photosport

"It wasn't as good in the second half, but that often happens when you're up 45-0 at halftime.

"We haven't really played a complete game. We've always played like a poor first half, then a great second half, or great first half, poor second half today, so I think the focus for us is pretty much get our game together for the whole 80.

"Big moments, been there before. We know what it takes, we've just got to produce it."

Smith is pleased that almost everyone in the Black Ferns squad has a taste of the global tournament, because of the much-changed team he put out.

"They were excellent in that first half and so they've put themselves in line for future selection," he said.

Standing in as captain for the rested Ruahei Demant, Arihiana Marino-Tauhino said the first knockout round would be a spectacle, regardless of who the Black Ferns were paired with when the draw was decided.

"Once you get to quarter-finals, the games change, so we'll take a rest tonight and look at the games tomorrow, and figure out who we have and then go from there," she said.

"All of the games have been amazing. Fast, quick rugby and everyone will enjoy it." 


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