Live updates: Rugby World Cup build-up – Black Ferns v Japan at Auckland’s Eden Park

Coach Wayne Smith has named his 32-player squad for the World Cup, including several from the Olympic champion sevens program, so this looms as a chance for them to get some 15s action under their belts before the tournament.

Japan are considered World Cup longshots, ranking ahead of only Fiji among the 12 teams contesting the trophy, but they did beat Australia earlier this year and have avoided the three favorites – England, NZ and France – in pool play.

Black Ferns Sevens heartbreak fueling Hirini’s Rugby World Cup ambition

By Reece Labuschagne

Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini has her eyes on World Cup redemption, after heartbreak in South Africa just over a week ago.

New Zealand were stunned by Australia 24-22 in the final of the Sevens World Cup final in Cape Town.

A self-confessed bad loser, Hirini has taken time away from social media to digest the agonizing loss, but is now raring to go for the Black Ferns 15-a-side team.

With the World Cup beginning on October 8, the Black Ferns play Japan in a warm-up match at Eden Park on Saturday and Hirini has her sights firmly set on what’s ahead.

“I think that’s why I took a bit of time off social media, not to forget about it, but to know that it’s there and move on,” she said.

“I knew I had to move on quite quickly. I don’t want to come into this environment and act like a sad sack, and bring whatever happened last week into it.

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