Full time salaries only a matter of time for Black Ferns

By Eru Paranihi

Black Ferns captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili believes it’s only a matter of time before the side follows the All Blacks by turning professional.

The team arrived home from Ireland to a colourful reception at Auckland Airport.

The Black Ferns were welcomed today by Te Kōtuku cultural group who fused a welcoming consisting of a Māori welcome and a Cook Island cultural dance.

All the money in the world couldn’t buy a reception like that.

Fa’amausili says, “We didn't know that it was going to be this extreme. This is very special just to see the tears in some of the girl's eyes.”

“It's a nice surprise. I'm happy to see the families of all the girls who have returned to New Zealand,” says winger and top try scorer Portia Woodman who bagged 65 points to go with her 13 tries.

Their opponents, England, are a professional team.

Many of their supporters think the Black Ferns should be getting paid full-time.

"Personally, I would like for it to head that way," says Fa'amausili.

“We want to be supported financially so that we are able to go about our business,” says Woodman (Ngāpuhi).

The ladies are fortunate enough that all expenses were paid for by New Zealand Rugby.

However, there are other financial costs that the players had to fork out.

Fullback Selica Winiata who bagged a double in the final says, “It's more just the financial stress around whether or not you've got enough leave to take for a World Cup. Four weeks is a long time.”

After calling time on her career as a Black Fern and dedicating the win to her late father, Fa'amausili now returns to the workforce as a police officer.

“The Black Ferns are in good hands now, so I'm happy to say that I'll be following them from the other side of the field,” says Fa’amausili.  

The Black Ferns now have five world cups, which is the most for any team. It is also more than the All Blacks. The time seems right for the players to be paid full time.