World cup final means the world for Packer
Flanker Marlie Packer admits that Saturday’s final against the Black Ferns “means the world,” as she and her Red Roses teammates look to silence the Eden Park crowd this weekend.
Last weekend against Canada, the Red Roses were given a tough examination in a hugely competitive semi-final. Packer scored her fifth try of the tournament in that game and was quick to credit the performance of a Canadian side that included several of her current and former club teammates.
“Full credit to Canada, they were fantastic. Obviously, I know what Alysha, Alex and people like Sophie De Goede can do from the club, but we really just had to look at ourselves. Canada have one of the most dominant packs in the world, but we showed some great physicality and there were some real standout performances,” she reflected.
The crucial turning point in the match was a length of the field effort finished by Abby Dow, after England had turned the ball over on their own try line. It was a try that broke the internet, with Packer highlighting that it showed her side “aren’t just forward dominated.”
Saturday’s final will be played in front of a sell-out Eden Park crowd, with the majority in attendance cheering for the Black Ferns. Packer though, insists that her side won’t be fazed by the atmosphere, having played in front of partisan crowds before.
“We’ve had those hostile environments before, especially when we’ve gone away to France. If anything, I think it can help us to focus on our own game.”
Whilst many commentators have billed the final as a chance for revenge, after the Black Ferns secured the title against England five years ago, Packer insists that those memories from that match won’t play a part come kick-off.
“We don’t look back at what has happened before. We’re both completely different sides now and we’re obviously on a great run with results. But we’ve not faced a side like New Zealand on their own patch, so it will be very different to the games last year. We need to work for the full eighty minutes.”
For Packer, the final is also a chance to achieve something that has been building over “five years of hard work.”
“Winning it would mean the world,” she acknowledged. “I’ve been training for this for the last five years and putting the work in after 2017. We’re in this together and to get that win after everything we’ve achieved would just be the cherry on top of it all.”
Packer also took the time to thank her friends, family and the supporters back home, who have cheered her side on throughout the tournament.
“It’s been massive,” she smiled. “We might be on the other side of the world, but we still feel all the support from back home. Hopefully, people will be able to get up, watch the final and make a bit of a day of it. We need to put on our best display to thank everyone for their support.”