Whanganui Black Fern Sosoli Talawadua was "gutted" but pragmatic about the likelihood of this year's women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand being postponed.
Talawadua, who played in the Black Ferns at the last World Cup, heard on Wednesday morning of world rugby's recommendation for the pinnacle tournament to be postponed until next year.
"I was gutted when I first heard that world rugby will consider the recommendation and vote on it next week," Talawadua said.
"It came as a bit of a surprise, but there's still going to be a World Cup, it's just going to be next year.
"Hopefully it means another exciting Farah Palmer Cup competition featuring the best of the best like last season when Covid kept all our top players at home. Of course, we may still be missing those going to the Olympics if that's still on.
"I won't be going to the Olympics, I'm a prop and props don't get selected for sevens rugby," she joked.
Talawadua was called into the Black Ferns training camp in Tauranga between February 18 and 21 and will still attend camp in Wellington next week, although it has been reduced from five days to three.
"I'm just glad to be back in the fold. I'm uncertain about any future training camps."
In the meantime, Talawadua will continue her part-time work with the Whanganui Rugby Union overseeing the women's secondary school development programme and remaining the driving force behind the St Johns Club Whanganui Metro women's side.
"It will be our second season at that level in the Manawatu competition and we've already had a couple of pre-season games down in Palmy where the feedback for this season is really positive," Talawadua said.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson indicated the prospect of bringing 12 teams – three of whom were yet to qualify - and over 700 people into a country with full managed isolation facilities was problematic. The fact many foreign teams have been unable to play for over a year was another factor in the postponement recommendation.
"We're incredibly confident our team has done everything possible to make sure this tournament could have been a success," Robinson said. "We'll have to take a bit of stock now to step back and work through the disappointment in the immediate future and then build a plan for next year.
"We're committed to making sure the Black Ferns have a meaningful campaign this year."
This year's World Cup was scheduled to be held in Auckland and Whangārei from September 18 to October 16. Robinson indicated the tournament would now start from October 15 next year at the same venues.
Despite preparing for the past four years, and making significant sacrifices during summer training, Blackwell appreciated the predicament foreign teams faced in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I was speaking to a mate in Canada this morning and she hasn't played internationals since our game against the Barbarians at the end of 2019," Blackwell said.
"The reality of it is pretty real and down in New Zealand we're a little bit sheltered from what's actually happening on a bigger scale around the world. You can't expect them to bring 100 per cent of their capacity."
One potential upside for the Black Ferns is they may have access to the full spectrum of sevens players.
"A lot of those girls in the sevens have been involved in our XVs team. There's a lot of quality within their environment that we could definitely benefit from. If it is postponed until next year it will definitely create some friendly competition among players and positions."