Silver Ferns look to improve on sloppy victory
Everyone acknowledges that the Silver Ferns could become a very good team.
"[But] potential don't mean nothing if you don't reach it," wing defence Joline Henry said after Saturday's underwhelming 52-46 win over Jamaica in London.
New Zealand's time as Commonwealth Games gold medallists is rapidly coming to an end, with tomorrow's test against England their last outing before beginning the defence of that title.
For their own sakes, they need to perform well tomorrow, because some of their play against Jamaica was poor. Things looked all right defensively, which was quite an achievement given Jhaniele Fowler was in the opposition, but the Silver Ferns' attack was stilted, even sloppy.
"We needed to make sure we didn't make any errors and that any ball we did get off them we needed to score and I don't think we did that very well. Yeah, we did that all right in patches, but I still believe we're at least 20 goals better than that [Jamaican] side," said Henry.
"We can definitely do better at treasuring own own possession, and particularly any turnover ball we get, because if we think a performance like that is going to compete with England then we need to think again."
England are a fine side, especially at home and at this time of year, as evidenced by the 3-0 whitewash they administered to Australia 12 months ago.
Beating them, even by a goal, would seem a pretty satisfactory outcome for the Silver Ferns tomorrow, but not Henry.
"No, no it wouldn't."
She needs the team not just to win, but to play well doing it and, from this distance, more accuracy in their attacking play would be the quickest way to achieve that. Henry says you win and lose as a team so while she's happy to point the finger collectively, she doesn't single people or units out.
"We've got new attacking combinations, we're trying new things, it's really hard to make judgements. All I know is we are building structures, we are building processes and we have the ability."
Irene van Dyk, Maria Tutaia and Millie Lees started in attack against Jamaica, before being replaced at halftime. Cathrine Latu, Jodi Brown and Shannon Francois did a reasonable job in their place and it will be interesting to see how coach Waimarama Taumaunu assessed that.
She'll want to put out her best lineup and to bury England, and it remains to be seen which of those six attackers she now turns to.
Certain to be on court, barring mishap, is centre Laura Langman, who'll play the 100th test (all consecutive) of her career.