Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns to play opener against Australia in front of historic sellout crowd at Eden Park

The Black Ferns will play in front of a history-making sellout crowd in their Rugby World Cup opener against Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.

It will be the first occasion the Auckland stadium has reached its 40,000 capacity for a women's sports event, and more than doubles the largest ever crowd for a standalone women's event in New Zealand.

It will also become the most attended women's Rugby World Cup match day ever, surpassing the 2014 tournament's finals day by more than twice the amount.

Rugby World Cup tournament director Michelle Hooper believes the sellout is an example of how much the women's game has grown, and is grateful for all of the support.

"On Saturday night, Aotearoa will send a strong message to the world that women's rugby is due its rightful place in the spotlight with a sell-out crowd at Eden Park. 

"Creating history for women's sport and setting new records for women's rugby, will undoubtedly elevate the women's game to new heights for generations to come. We'd like to express our gratitude to fans and to the global rugby whānau for sharing our belief.

"This has been our shared vision from the outset and to see it come to light speaks volumes about the wave of change globally, celebrating wāhine toa and shining the spotlight on them. 

"New Zealand is now officially on the record for smashing gender stereotypes and creating historical change. On behalf of all our team we acknowledge the trailblazers that couldn't experience this moment and we honour them with this success."

Kiwi fans were quick to snap up the less than 1,000 remaining tickets left as of Friday morning, with New Zealand hosting the prestigious event for the first time.

Black Ferns players Sarah Hirini and Renee Holmes spoke of their delight at the almost sellout crowd on the eve of the World Cup opener.

"I'm getting goosebumps," Hirini told AM. "It's a pretty incredible feat, and something we've been pushing as a team. "For it to be close to 40,000 is crazy."

"I think I'll wake up tomorrow morning and feel it a little bit more," Holmes added. "Just hearing that many people [are] coming, we've had talks about it.

"There's pressures of it being a home World Cup, but it's good pressure. Everyone's going to be there to support us, that's something [that's] really exciting."

Watch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join us on Saturday for live updates of the Black Ferns v Australia World Cup opener.