The experiment of using Portia Woodman at centre is over.

The 26-year-old flyer is in full Rugby World Cup preparation mode but last season she wore the No 13 jersey in four of the five Black Ferns' tests. She still ran in a hat-trick against Ireland but she was back on the wing for the three June internationals and feels more comfortable on the flanks.

"I'll be on the wing, covering either side. That's the good thing about sevens, you can play either side. Carla (Hohepa), Theresa (Fitzpatrick) and Stacey (Waaka) are all amazing centres, so they've got the upper hand," says Woodman after the Black Ferns wound up their latest training camp at Rangitoto College.

"Last year Theresa and Stacey both had shoulder injuries, so they were out. I was learning. I've only ever played wing, so it was more about me getting an idea for the game, as such."


Coach Glenn Moore knew Woodman's hammer-like defence would be useful but was checking extra options.

She scored three tries in the June series, a double against Australia, including one of her trademark in and away specials, and a single in the 29-21 defeat to England. That reverse may be a good thing, because it has forced the side to look more deeply into what they are doing, and Woodman received a blow to the ego when she was fended off by her marker Lydia Thompson, who scored in the corner.

"Nobody likes losing, let along to those English girls, so that's given us a lot of perspective. You don't want to go into a World Cup thinking you are the bee's knees... there's nothing wrong with having work-ons," says Woodman, who may just file away that defensive lapse for when or if the Blacks Ferns face England again, perhaps in the final.

Woodman, a prolific tryscorer in the Women's Sevens World Series, has crossed for nine tries in her 11 Black Ferns internationals. This will be her first 15s World Cup after an ankle problem ruled her out of the 2014 event in France. She is following in the footsteps of some classy Black Ferns wings, among them Vanessa Cootes - who scored an astonishing 43 tries in 16 tests - Louisa Wall, Dianne Kahura, Victoria Grant and Honey Hireme.

"I had a moment in the car the other day and thought 'I'm going to a World Cup.' This team has so much history, having won four World Cups, and is such an elite team, to be selected is huge," she says.

Woodman herself may be slightly underdone going into the event as she has not played any rugby for her club Manurewa since last month's June series, opting to rest niggles. But she is a superbly conditioned athlete, so should be ready to go.