The Black Ferns have a fabulous record at the Women’s Rugby World Cup, having won all four of the tournaments since they were officially sanctioned by the IRB back in 1998. (Take that, All Blacks.)
The 2014 Cup kicked off in France on 1 August when the Ferns took care of Kazakhstan 79-5.
But – and it’s a helluva but – normal transmission was interrupted when Ireland beat the Ferns 17-14. (The only other example I could find of an Irish national rugby side beating a New Zealand national rugby side was a 1973 Sevens tournament held in Scotland. So it is rightly a very big deal for the Irish.)
The structure of the tournament – three pools of four teams – means that the Ferns are now in real danger of missing out on making the semis. The three pool winners go through, and just one of the pool runners up. That’s a very, very tough structure.
My reading is that the Ferns need to win their last pool match against the United States, and win with four tries, and win by a decent margin, to make the cut. (And a draw in the earlier match between England and Canada would put the kibosh on the whole shebang anyway.)
Kick-off is 4am Sunday New Zealand time, live on Sky Sports.
We’re all going to need to shout really loud if they’re going to hear us over in Paris.
Or you could give them 140-characters of support over on The Twitter @NZBlackFerns.