Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns fullback Renee Holmes bracing for French aerial attack in semi-final

New Black Ferns fullback Renee Holmes expects an aerial bombardment from France in their Rugby World Cup semi-final - and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Holmes is the only change to coach Wayne Smith's side for the playoff match, replacing Ayesha Leti-l'iga, who drops to the bench.

The addition of the specialist fullback sees Ruby Tui take the No.14 jersey and Portia Woodman switch sides to the left wing.

Holmes has never played France before, but has been practicing her drop goals should she be called upon against a team known for their kicking prowess in a rare start in black.

"I'm excited for the challenge," she said. "I didn't get the opportunity to play against these guys last year, so being a fullback - to play against a team that likes to kick, it's happy days for a fullback.

"I can't wait to take on that challenge and when you've got the likes of Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui as your wingers, wow - what could go wrong?

"Always when you come into finals footy, 100 percent you've got to be ready for those moments, you never know what's going to happen - there's been a preparation.

"It was a cool opportunity. The first time I got benched was in the Laurie O'Reilly series this year, but I actually didn't take the field.

"It was actually a really cool feeling to know what I was going to come off and bring to the team what I can in those last few minutes.

"Now going into starting this weekend, it's a pretty privileged feeling. We've got an unreal 32 and just knowing [we] get to go out there and play for the girls that don't get to play, because it is hard when you don't get to play - definitely taking the team with us out there."

Like many of her teammates, Holmes has realised a dream by representing the Black Ferns at a Rugby World Cup on home soil.

The Gisborne-native admits the experience has been overwhelming, but is looking to repay the faith shown by her biggest supporters.

"This is the biggest pinnacle event that you can dream of as a rugby player and to have it here, at home - it's been crazy," she said.

"We've never had crowds like we have had these past few weeks, and I think the coolest feeling about the crowds that we are getting - we're looking at the crowd, they're our people, those are our people, they're here to watch us and support women's rugby.

"That's so exciting and it just fuels the fire and we can't wait…we already know the nation is proud of us, and just to be in a semi-final this weekend is pretty exciting.

"Gisborne is my home, and not many get to make it out of there and live their dream, so I always give credit back to my community, because they have always got around me.

"To see them at that opening at Eden Park, I don't know how many there were, but there were a lot and that's the reason why we play, that's the reason I play - to give back to those kinds of people that have been there since day one."

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