Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns captain Ruahei Demant fires warning at France before semi-final

The Black Ferns are preparing for a considerable step up in intensity this weekend, after another comprehensive 55-3 win against Wales in the quarter-finals.

Up next in Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final are France, the team that thrashed them twice on last year's end-of-year tour.

But the NZ women say they're a completely different side now and the French should brace themselves for a fierce encounter. 

New Zealand know the heat is on, as they prepare to take on one of best teams in women's rugby.  

"They're a really quality side, they defend with heart," said Black Ferns co-captain Ruahei Demant.

The Ferns couldn't crack that defence last year. 

A winless northern hemisphere tour, including two big losses to France, sparked a well-documented review into the team's performances and culture, which Demant believes has ended up being the best thing for the side. 

"I don't even know where to start, because so much has changed," she said. "We are a completely different team, our attack and defense philosophies are completely different."

With a big quarter-final win over Wales, those changes feel like they're starting to click on the field. 

"Look, we are still trying to make changes to our game and go to the next level," said Black Ferns assistant coach Wes Clarke. 

"I think, in some ways, last week was even more intense, but we are pretty happy with how we performed in the weekend, so there's a little bit of happiness there." 

The intensity goes up a notch in this weekend's semi-final, but not just on them. 

"I think they [France] should be worried," Demant said.

The newlook Black Ferns are out for redemption against France, with the overall focus to defend their World Cup crown the week after. 

Catch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join us from 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Black Ferns v France semi-final