Siwan Lillicrap column: Breakfast with Black Ferns and friendly fire

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Venue: Northland Convention Center, Whangarei Date: Saturday October 22ndr kick-off: 02:15 CET
Cover: Live BBC Radio Wales Extra Commentary on the BBC Sport website and app and Live Text Commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

I’d like to write how great it felt to beat the Black Ferns, it just wasn’t supposed to be the weekend.

But playing New Zealand in their home World Cup was a dream come true and definitely something to add to your memory.

We respect the Haka for what it stands for and it was a special experience leading the team out and facing it.

Everything seems to happen in an instant, the whole day flies by, you spend the whole week preparing to train really hard and then we sing the anthems and get into the game.

Wales vs New Zealand
Wales played New Zealand to a full house in Waitakere, Auckland

Breakfast with black ferns

I felt we had a really good start, we were in for 15 minutes and it was all of us. I thought ‘we’re okay here’.

We dominated up front, the set piece was great, we just couldn’t do anything about it and when they sniffed possession they were relentless.

During our review, we looked at seven clips where there was an opportunity to score, we only took two, and there were probably more if we delve a little deeper.

So the positive thing is that we create chances, it’s about turning them into points now.

I have to say the Black Ferns have made huge leaps forward when you look at where they played against England and France last year.

It’s funny because now we share a hotel with them in Whangarei, one minute we’re bitter rivals and the next we’re chatting over breakfast.

France are also in the hotel and hopefully it will be a good game for them against FiJi. I think France will do it after their performance against England last weekend, which could help us.

But the great thing is that we have our destiny in our own hands. If we beat Australia we’ll be in the quarter-finals, it’s as simple as that.

It’s so exciting and it’s up to us players to make sure we perform and get the result.

We know they will bring tremendous physicality, if we are ahead in that area it will be a good day for us.

We’re encouraged after seeing what Scotland did against them and they were unlucky not to win in the end.

I really felt Scotland’s heartbreak and I’m sure we can learn a lot from this game.

Wales tries against New Zealand
Wales celebrate a late try from Sioned Harries in the 12-56 loss to New Zealand

Monday was a travel day for us and as you might expect we got a few sore bodies but touch wood, no injuries.

This is our fourth week here and we’ve gotten to the point where it’s all about managing and caring for our bodies and making sure we recover so we’re ready again.

We also had Tuesday as a rest day to switch off mentally.

Some of the girls went to the Bay of Islands and took a boat trip, others stayed at the harbor, had a good coffee and relaxed.

It’s so important that we have that as we live in each other’s pockets, it’s a lot of time together and while everyone gets along great it’s nice at times to think of something else.

team fire

We have a fines committee every week, there are many different fines, you can get a fine if you wear the wrong gear, are late, say or do something stupid.

I think the girls take great pleasure in punishing management for slip-ups. It’s great and it’s all in good spirits and we’re all in it together.

A penalty this week goes to Keira Bevan, who tackled Jaz (Jasmine Joyce) in the New Zealand game. She took stick all week for that.

Siwan Lilicrap
Siwan Lillicrap won her first cap in the 21-3 defeat by Ireland in the 2016 Six Nations

Hopefully this weekend I’ll play my 50th cap for Wales and while I’m personally over the moon, winning is the most important thing for us.

I won my first international match in 2016 and never thought I would reach this milestone.

It’s been a whirlwind for six years, I don’t know where they went. I’ve seen a lot of change, a lot of leaders, coaches and backroom staff.

Eighteen months ago we didn’t know what was next for Welsh women’s rugby, but now we’re at the World Cup as full-time professionals.

I’ve had the best times of my life in a Welsh shirt, but I’ve also had some of the worst.

I will always cherish each of my hats but there have been some really dark times and it’s just really nice to get my 50th when things are in good shape and I will remember it as a high.

The best thing for me is hearing girls say, ‘I want to be a professional rugby player when I grow up’.

We want to inspire and make our nation proud. Hopefully we can do that on Saturday.

Siwan Lillicrap spoke to BBC Sport Wales’ Ceri Coleman-Phillips.

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