Rugby World Cup: Retiring veteran Kendra Cocksedge savouring every last minute in Black Ferns jersey

Kendra Cocksedge is soaking up every minute she has left with the Black Ferns.

After 16 years and 67 tests, the former NZ Rugby Player of the Year has only one training left before Saturday's Rugby World Cup  final and she admits it's been an emotional week.

"I think it's OK to let that out," she said. "Whatever comes, I'll embrace that.

"For the rest of the week, it's about enjoying it and soaking it up. When it's your last one, you kind of don't want to brush it off - you wanna embrace it and enjoy the moment."

There's plenty to embrace before a World Cup final. Cocksedge, 34, has been here before, playing in three World Cups and winning two of them.

She's desperate to win a third, and in a week full of emotion and reflection, that remains her priority.

"It's not about me, it's about the team," she said. "We're about to embark on a pretty awesome occasion - a soldout Eden Park for a Rugby World Cup final - which I know already will be a highlight of people's careers."

Working with Cockesdge has been a highlight for coach Wayne Smith. 

"She's very smart about the game and hugely diligent in the way she prepares for the game," he said.

While the final brings Cocksedge's illustrious career to a close, it will also spell curtains for Smith.

Hazel Tubic, Kendra Cocksedge and Wayne Smith consult during Black Ferns training
Hazel Tubic, Kendra Cocksedge and Wayne Smith consult during Black Ferns training. Photo credit: Getty Images

His brief stint with the side is something he never thought he'd do, but he's loved it and he's imposed a new style of rugby on the Black Ferns .

"Hopefully, it's a blueprint for the future, because I think it's excited people and it's excited the girls."

While the Ferns may have practiced for every circumstance the final may throw up, Smith concedes they can do little more to be ready for England.

"We've done the work," he said. "There's no need to motivate everyone, nothing other than get your plans right and enjoy the week."

Smith hopes that recipe can lead to his second World Cup win at Eden Park.

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 England final