The buzz is still going strong for the Black Ferns after their historic Rugby World Cup Final performance over the weekend.
Skill, determination and heart are just some of the many words used to describe the nation’s women’s rugby elites who took the England Roses, and themselves, to the limit. Winning their sixth world cup, first world cup at home and breaking the incredible 30-game win streak was all done in a night’s work by the Ferns.
One superstar centre who scored a try and assisted a try on the night, Te Ao Toa presenter Stacey Fluhler, has been basking in the celebrations over the past few days. Despite feeling gutted when she was injured after making the assist to Ayesha Leti-I'iga in the seven, Fluhler is still "stoked" for her teammates who have created a new status for women's rugby.
“We talked about playing with heart and attitude. Whenever I got my opportunity, I just wanted to do the best I could for the team,” she says.
Fluhler (Ngāi Tūhoe) gave credit to fullback Renee Holmes (Ngāti Porou) who assisted Fluhler’s five-pointer, especially as Holmes blocked players, drew them in and passed with enough space for Fluhler to zoom off on the left wing into the try zone.
“I literally said to everyone I’d break a leg or break anything for this team – I literally sprained it. It was just probably lucky that [Leti-I’iga] was at the right place at the right time.”
The World Cup has seen support out in droves not only for the Black Ferns but for women’s rugby itself, including sold-out crowds and high viewership numbers for the final.
“It’s cool because it’s the start of something new. The Black Ferns have been around for years, and obviously won a lot of world cups, but to see the coverage and the support from everyone around the country, all around the world.
“It’s going to be massive in continuing that growth moving forward. More tests would be amazing for the girls, bringing up the lower-tier teams so there’s good quality competition all around the world and not just two or three teams at the top.”
Fluhler is now in unwind mode, ready to fly out to the Maldives for a much-deserved break from rugby this weekend.
She is also in the running for the NZTV Awards' NZ Television Personality of the Year. Viewers have until midnight, November 17 to vote.