Following on from a tough loss is not something New Zealand have to do very often. In fact, it’s been 16 test matches since the last time it happened.
But while the world champions’ 18-17 defeat to a talented French side in their opening match of WXV 1 was disappointing, prop Amy Rule is determined to see the positives.
“Everyone seems to be in pretty good spirits,” she said.
“Honestly we’re just excited to be playing international footy against such a strong side like France. Obviously, it’s not the result we wanted but you can’t dwell too much on it. You just have to review, preview and go again next week.”
Rule pointed out that the Black Ferns enjoyed a lot of ball and territory, now it was just a matter of converting it into points this weekend against Wales in Dunedin.
“We had a lot of the possession for the majority of the game, so it’s just about going back to the drawing board,” she said
“It was awesome, and it’s been building over the last few weeks. The set piece is a priority, because we need that TQB (top quality ball) so the backs can do their thing.
“It’s cool to showcase the work we’ve done and for the bench to come on and have a massive impact. But there’s always more we can be better at.”
The 23-year-old, who scored a try in last year’s Rugby World Cup final and won a Super Rugby Aupiki title this season with South Island side Matatū, stressed the post-Rugby World Cup situation with the Black Ferns.
The side has a new man at the helm in director of rugby Allan Bunting and a number of players in their debut test seasons.
“I think in the women’s game you have building phases,” she said.
“After the World Cup we had players retire, so new ones have to come through and as a team our DNA is ‘high-risk, high reward’.
“So, I think we are trying new combinations but everything is still so new. Everything is at a point of ‘at least we’re trying, the intent is there’ and I think with more time and more exposure to test rugby things will start clicking a lot better. We’ll be hissing in a few weeks.”
Rule is excited to be playing at Forsyth Barr Stadium this weekend, her hometown of Lumsden lying just to the south of Dunedin.
She is expecting family and friends to be cheering the team on. “It’s incredible, it’s such a good vibe,” Rule said.
“It’s cool that World Rugby have set this up and especially being back in our home country. We love all the support, they’re such great fans… it’s such a cool community.
“We’re so fortunate that the support we have is so genuine.”