28 Sep 2017

Rousing reception for victorious Black Ferns

2:18 pm on 28 September 2017

The Black Ferns have brought the women's Rugby World Cup home to fans in Auckland - and revealed they call her Nancy.

Black Ferns fans show support for their World Cup-winning team

Young Black Ferns fans show support for their World Cup-winning team Photo: RNZ / Rowan Quinn

The victorious team won the cup in August but, with many of them needing to get straight back to work, an official celebration was not held until today.

Noisy fans, most of them girls and young women, packed out the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau to greet the team, with huge cheers going up as they arrived to a guard of honour from local primary schools.

Team captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili told the crowd she was overwhelmed with the level of love and support - something she also felt when they were playing in the World Cup.

The team had named the cup after Nancy Wake, the New Zealand-born World War Two spy, because she was determined and never gave up even when others told her she should, Fa'amausili said.

Many of the speeches were good-humoured and funny, with an obvious strong bond within the team.

The Black Ferns also revealed a mini-team among them called the Band Ferns, the best singers in the squad.

Lead by back Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, they treated the audience to a song, which had the main aim of teasing their captain - who retires at the end of the year.

Fans were able to have pictures with the Black Ferns - and hold the cup themselves.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili signs autographs for fans at the celebrations

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili signs autographs for fans at the celebrations Photo: RNZ / Rowan Quinn

Earlier today, former Black Ferns and the Players Association told RNZ the celebrations were great, but not enough.

They wanted to see a women's domestic professional competition established in New Zealand, and more international test matches for the Black Ferns.

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