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If fans are feeling the energy, excitement, passion, or a combination of all three ahead of tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup final, Stacey Fluhler is sharing their emotions.
Saturday marks one of the most significant sporting events of the Black Ferns’ lives – in front of another sold-out home crowd at Eden Park, chasing their sixth world title and their first world title on home soil.
Echoing teammate Ruby Tui who gave a goosebump answer during yesterday’s Black Ferns conference about barriers being broken in women’s rugby, Fluhler says, “I got a big smile on my face.
Tui reflects on barriers her team have broken down for women's rugby.
“As [Tui] said, 12 years later and we’ve managed to do it. We’ve broken so many barriers. We’ve shown that wāhine toa can play rugby and play good rugby.
“It’s special being a part of this legacy, this journey, and I’m just excited to see where it can go into the future.”
Fluhler (Ngāi Tūhoe) scored a great try on the wing during last week’s nail-biting semi-final win against France. But she was suddenly full of dread when France was awarded a penalty shot at goal in the game’s last moment.
That last kick
Ferns are in the RWC finals!
“I was shocked, I didn’t watch the kick. My head was down, I was shaking my head, so, so gutted. It wasn’t until the crowd cheered and were up on their feet that I turned my head to the goalpost and saw the ball fall into Kennedy Simon’s hands.
“I’ve never gone from extreme disappointment to extreme happiness within seconds before.”
“It’s definitely something I’m never, ever going to forget.”
Switching to the present, the Ferns have trained hard and are looking to correct errors made in the semi-final. Fluhler says they need to be at their absolute best against a team that has won 33 games straight that spans back to March 2018.
But no matter the spectacle, the stakes or the result, Fluhler says her Black Ferns teammates will “control the controllables” come 7:30pm tomorrow.
“We’ve got to treat it as if it’s another rugby game. Yes, it’s the world cup final but, if we can get on top of that mental toughness and have the right attitude leading into it, that’s all we can do.”
“It’s all about your own process. Follow your process and don’t worry about the outcome on the field.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
The RWC final kicks off against England at 7:30pm tomorrow night at Eden Park.