The New Zealand team moved into their Auckland base today, bringing the number of teams to five that have arrived with Singapore on Saturday, England yesterday and Wales and Barbados today.
Scotland also arrived on Friday, based in Bay of Plenty and Waikato, while Australia arrive tonight.
New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken said her players were “sick of training” and simply wanting to get on court and play.
The Silver Ferns went into camp in Auckland on Sunday night and will train together through the week, playing internal games with teams filled up by extra New Zealand squad members.
She said the world championships have been a long time coming, after they were moved to Auckland from Fiji, and the date changed from July to November.
“We were all geared up to peak in the middle of the year, so it’s been a challenge for us,” she said. “It’s swings and roundabouts whether it’s better to play now – it gave the girls who were recovering from injury [like defender Casey Williams or pregnancy [Sheryl Scanlan] extra time to prepare.”
Aitken said the team were concentrating on putting the final touches on their game, and reinforcing their confidence, and were not paying attention to the arrival of other teams.
Injured centre Laura Langman went through her paces on court yesterday – she didn’t play a full hour, but had “considerable court time”. She was able to play at full pace without pain in her fractured foot, and both she and Aitken are confident that she will remain in the team for the tournament.
“It’s all good – the plan so far has worked, and I’m now progressing to getting back on court,” she said.
“At the moment, I have no pain whatsoever, so if it carries on like this it will be all guns blazing.”
Aitken said Langman would not be wrapped in cotton wool for the lead-up to the world championships, and they would look to increase the load on her healing foot in the next few days.
A decision will be made at the end of the week whether she keeps her spot, but Aitken is confident she will play.
The Ferns had a training session on Sunday night with former Silver Ferns captain Wai Taumaunu, and another game simulation yesterday at the AUT on North Shore with the six extra members of the Ferns squad, including Temepara George.
The Ferns have called on the expertise of Taumaunu, Sandra Edge and Belinda Colling over the past 12 weeks but it’s now up to the coaches – Aitken and Leigh Gibbs – to smooth the edges and soothe any nerves before Saturday’s game against African champions Malawi.
photos Janos Schmidt