Clash against Australia will be a big test - Black Ferns assistant coach Sir Graham Henry

Sir Graham Henry is expecting a stiff challenge for the Black Ferns
Sir Graham Henry is expecting a stiff challenge for the Black Ferns

Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry is expecting a stiff challenge from Australia in the Rugby World Cup opener to be played at Eden Park on Saturday.

With a close to full packed stadium expected, the game is expected to set the tone for the much awaited Women's World Cup and Henry pointed out on the need to seize momentum early in the competition.

"I think it will be a big Test," he said.

"The unexpected will happen in a tournament and you've just got to handle it.

That was big in our time and I'm sure there will be incidents in this tournament where the unexpected will happen: red card, injury to key players and how you handle those things because, at the end of the day, you have got no excuse, you've just got to try and do the business.

"We've got to go in with that attitude as well, playing for our country, but also playing free so we can put our game on the field," he said.

England had more than 1200 Test caps in their side, France had high numbers, while New Zealand had 380 Test caps, which was a big difference in experience.

"So, we've got to come to it quickly if we are going to be competitive, so that's a massive advantage for them compared with what we've got."

The New Zealand Board had acquired the services of Henry as a consultant as they look to claim the sixth title.

"We're throwing everything at it. It doesn't guarantee anything. I think we're giving it everything we've got, and hopefully we go well."