Tomorrow's Black Ferns' final trial in Palmerston North represents the first tangible step towards August's Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

It's all hands on deck too, which means a core of the Black Ferns Sevens squad, including captain Sarah Goss, Portia Woodman, Kelly Brazier and Theresa Fitzpatrick, though not the injured Tyla Nathan-Wong, will be showing their wares tomorrow.

"We've been working really closely with the Black Ferns Sevens and Bunty (coach Allan Bunting). Because of the World Cup, this will take precedence. It's the same in Olympic year, where sevens will take priority," says Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore.

The original thinking was that the sevens players would miss just the Canada tournament in a fortnight, but a late event in France was added for late June. However, any sevens players who miss the Black Ferns 15s cut, will be free to play those last two tournaments, where New Zealand lead the World Series.


Moore is largely happy with the conditioning of a group of about 60, not all of whom will trial tomorrow due to injury. He will name up to 30 on Saturday for the June series, which pits New Zealand against Canada, Australia and England in nine days, ideal preparation for an intense RWC schedule.

Unbeaten since the 2014 RWC, the Black Ferns will not necessarily just be made up of those who did the job last season.

"We've told them all through the four camps that we are going into this with a really open mind. We know the ones who have delivered in our programme before, but we know there is some really good talent coming through behind that," Moore says. Building depth and competition for places is paramount.

"They all need to feel the pressure of quality people pushing for spots, so hopefully that will bring out the best in everyone. There is no place in the World Cup for complacency or below par performances."

The Black Ferns know that first-hand from 2014, denied the chance of a fifth straight World Cup title due to one poor outing (against Ireland) amidst four very good displays.

There will be the opportunity for two more rounds of club rugby for the selected group, though some of the sevens girls, who have played at a higher intensity, will likely be rested. The Black Ferns will reassemble on June 4 ahead of their three tests: Canada in Wellington on June 9, Australia in Christchurch on June 13 and England in Rotorua on June 17.

The Christchurch match is, incredibly, the first Black Ferns match in the South Island since 1997.

"Everyone's looking forward to that game. It's been a bit of a talking point that we are going south," says Moore.

The excitement levels in general are about to crank up for the Black Ferns.