Rugby World Cup: Kendra Cocksedge hailed by TJ Perenara as Black Ferns icon prepares to sign off

Kendra Cocksedge's influence on the Black Ferns and New Zealand rugby as a whole has been acknowledged by All Black TJ Perenara, as she prepares to bid farewell to the game after Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

Cocksedge, 34, will hang up her boots at fulltime regardless of the result, as the Black Ferns bid to win the World Cup for the sixth time, facing England at Auckland's Eden Park.

Aside from being the Black Ferns' most capped player (67 tests) and leading pointscorer (388), Cocksedge was part of Cup-winning sides in 2010 and 2017, and became the first woman to win the Kel Tremain Trophy for New Zealand's best player in 2018.

Those feats over her 15-year Black Ferns career make Cocksedge one of the best to ever wear a black jersey.

"For Kenj, she's a legend of the game - not only here in New Zealand, but in world rugby," said Perenara. "She can be really proud of the impact that she's had on women's rugby and rugby itself.

"I think it'll take a little bit for her to reflect on it and see how impactful she has actually been to the game of rugby, and especially to our young wahine in New Zealand."

Perenara also emphasises that Cocksedge's career won't be defined by Saturday's outcome. 

"I look at her as more than whatever this result is," he continued. "Whatever she's achieved in the game, that's all awesome, but the legacy she will leave is going to be amazing.

"There'll be kids talking about her for a long time. There'll be professional rugby players in the future who'll be like, 'I look up to Kenj when I was a young girl, she's the reason I play the game'.

"I'm super proud of her. I know that she'll do her job out on the field, and I look forward to seeing her go out there and do that.

"She's a believer in preparation more than luck, so I know she'll go out there, get the job done, and do herself and her family proud."

Kendra Cocksedge and Amy Rule celebrate winning the Laurie O'Reilly Cup.
Kendra Cocksedge and Amy Rule celebrate winning the Laurie O'Reilly Cup. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

The Black Ferns will play the final in front of a record crowd of more than 40,000.

Tickets were quickly snapped up after the final whistle of their 25-24 win over France at Eden Park, while an additional release took only minutes to sell out as well.

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