Rugby: Black Ferns want World Cup opener against Australia at Eden Park

The Black Ferns are urging Rugby World Cup officials to allow them to face Australia at Eden Park in the opening game of next year's tournament.

New Zealand has been drawn in Pool A, alongside the Wallaroos and Wales, and the next 10 months are shaping to be the most important for those pushing to be part of the tournament.

"Imagine how cool it would be if we drew the first match together to be at Eden Park, it would be something else," says Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell.

"Oh my god you can just feel the blood boiling already," added midfielder Grace Brooker.

The Black Ferns have never lost in 17 games against Australia, but that record would count for little in a World Cup opener.

And it's an occasion vice-captain Kendra Cockesdge hopes will attract fans in their droves. 

"Having a World Cup at home, we hope people will come down and support it, and having that Aussie-New Zealand rivalry will help get people to the game," she says. 

And now,  the race to be part of coach Glenn Moore's World Cup squad begins.

"Honestly, I don't think I've ever wanted something as much as I do right now," says Brooker.

"It makes me want to get out and start training hard for it already."

And for one of the world's best players, training is all she's been able to do.

Sidelined with injury for the past two years, Portia Woodman is hoping to complete a rare double in 2021. 

Compete at the Tokyo Olympics with the sevens, before switching to 15s for September's World Cup.

"For a few of us, we've been doing it for a while now and just that actual transition of what the coaches expect from us, the trials for Black Ferns and World Cup, we're not too sure of the details, but I'm sure we'd make it work," says Woodman. 

The Black Ferns have made the World Cup their own in recent history, winning five of the last six.

But that record will count for nothing come kick-off next year. 

"We're not going there to defend it, we're going there to win it and we have to have that mindset," says coach Moore.