By the time New Zealand’s Black Ferns get to play test rugby again, they’ll have gone two years without playing as much as a single test match. Such has been the impact of the ongoing global crisis on the sporting calendar.
An overseas tour is possibly in the offing for October-November, said New Zealand Rugby head of women’s rugby Cate Sexton late last week, and September the earliest possible date NZR hopes to schedule tests for the Black Ferns. The last time they played test rugby had been against Australia on August 17, 2019. They won that match 37-8, which victory allowed them to hold on to the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy – which has in the meantime been redubbed the O’Reilly Cup.
Even though hosting at least some tests in New Zealand prior to next year’s World Cup would be an ideal case scenario, said Sexton, there’s no guarantee that bringing the game home to fans, partners, and the families of players, will become a reality. A major obstacle in this regard is the 14-day managed isolation period that is mandatory for all outside arrivals.
On the table now, said Sexton, is working out how to make a Pacific competition with Canada, the United States, and Australia work. One viable option would be a series of test matches scheduled from September onwards. Meaningful test matches would be a major boost for the squad, said the NZ women’s rugby boss.
Even despite the logistical nightmare such a hope would create.
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