World-beating rugby players the Black Ferns are heading home via a long-haul flight from Ireland with the Women's Rugby World Cup Trophy in tow.

The Kiwi-team's star winger and prolific try-scorer Portia Woodman tweeted a picture of the champions in an airport lounge with coach Glenn Moore and an Emirates air hostess holding the trophy, captioned: "Thanks so much to Emirates [for] allowing us to use your lounge to freshen up before taking the baby home."

The Black Ferns deservedly got special treatment from the airline after beating England's Red Roses 41-32 to clinch their fifth world title in Belfast.

But fans weren't so happy with their treatment from rugby officials.


Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Wira Gardiner - husband of former National MP Hekia Parata - wasn't happy, tweeting: "These women are world champions, how demeaning NZRFU they have to rely on goodwill of Emirates to freshen up".

Commenter Steve Tesar tweeted it was a "simple equation" - "if [you] are going to treat the men like demigods there is never going to be enough money to splash around".

Woodman - the tournament's top try-scorer - earlier hit out at rugby's governing body over the cup's tightly packed scheduled, which gave the Kiwis just four days to recover before the final.

"I'd like to see the men try to do a tournament like this," she said, adding they "probably wouldn't handle this as well as we do".

Despite dominating international women's rugby, the Black Ferns do not have full-time professional contracts, or received salaries from the NZRFU.

Wellington has offered to host a celebratory street parade for the team, although there's no word yet on whether they will get a stars' welcome in Auckland. A Black Ferns spokeswoman said an advisory of celebratory events would be released this week.