Follow live updates as the Black Ferns take on France in the first clash of their two-test series.

Whether Krysten Cottrell is playing for her Taradale club team at the Hawke's Bay Sevens in Waipukurau or pulling on the Black Ferns rugby jersey the excitement level is the same ... high.

Since she started playing the game at Taradale High School there has always been excitement and a huge smile when Cottrell is on the field. It doesn't matter whether she is weaving through the opposing side's defence or attempting to tackle a player almost twice her size nothing changes.

"I'm pretty excited ... it's awesome to be named in the 10 jersey. I'm soaking it all up and it is a different feeling from being a sub," Cottrell said from the Black Ferns' Toulon base yesterday.

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After three games as a substitute for the world champions, Cottrell, 26, will be the starting first five-eighth when they take on Six Nations champions France at Stade Felix, Mayol this morning. The starting pivot in the last three tests, two wins against Australia in August and the win against the United States in Chicago last week, Aucklander Ruahei Demant, has been shifted to second five-eighth.

"It's good to have another ball player outside me and someone who knows how I play," Cottrell said.

The Hawke's Bay union's women's development officer who had five seasons playing for Manawatu and helped them win four national sevens titles before linking back up with the Hawke's Bay Tui side last season, Cottrell, agreed the French outfit is unorthodox and has the potential to be just as unpredictable as French men's teams have been against the All Blacks over the years.

"We just have to be ready for whatever tricks they give us. We have to put more pressure on and hold on to the ball as much as possible. They have not had a lot of pressure put on them during the Six Nations," Cottrell added.