It’s important to remember how many players the Ferns have lost since they won NWC. The starting 7 was Tuta’ia/Ekenasio/Crampton/Langman/Rore/Kopua/Watson. The ONLY player in this year’s team is Crampton. The only player Australia has lost from their starting 7 is Bassett, Jamaica has a lot of new talents and England have had 0 top-level retirements. If you took out all of the UK’s “fossils” (Mentor, EUB, Harten, Clarke, SFB, Guthrie) I think everyone would expect a 4th place finish for them.
Obviously it’s not good to go in with the mentality that leaving without a medal is acceptable, but if that were to happen it would be very different from 2018 in my opinion. And in all likelihood it won’t happen anyway.