Black Ferns are legends, says New Zealand PM
The Black Ferns have shown girls that they can do anything after clinching the World Cup in dramatic fashion last month, says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ardern hailed the New Zealand women’s rugby team as legends during a reception she hosted for them at New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington on Tuesday.
The hosts staged a dramatic fightback to win the final in front of a noisy crowd of about 1,000 people at Auckland’s sold-out Eden Park 34-31 over England, who had been on a 30-match winning streak.
According broadcaster Spark around 1.3 million New Zealanders — about a quarter of the population — tuned in to see the hosts win the final for the first time on home soil on November 12
“We will remember where we were when we watched those games during the World Cup but we will especially remember where we were for that final,” Ardern told the crowd.
She quoted a sign she saw at Eden Park — “they’re not girls, they’re legends” — in thanking the squad for “making our national game everybody’s game”.
“Thank you for showing girls that they can do anything,” she added. “Thank you for being world champions.”
Defending champions New Zealand have won six of the nine editions of the women’s Rugby World Cup.
Black Ferns centre Stacey Fluhler, who scored a try in the second-half fightback, said the World Cup win had given women’s rugby a huge boost in New Zealand.
“So many more people are talking about it,” she told AFP.
“I am going to be honest — when I was growing up I had no idea who the Black Ferns were.
“But you see these kids out here now,” she added, gesturing at the Wellington crowd.
“They know exactly who we are. They know the players, they know it’s a profession they can pursue.
“It’s given us much more exposure.”