Black Ferns named for last Test before Rugby World Cup

Black Ferns named for last Test before Rugby World Cup

A strong Black Ferns side has been named by coaches Wayne Smith, Wes Clarke and Whitney Hansen for their last Test match before the Rugby World Cup, hosting Japan at Eden Park on Saturday.

The Black Ferns return to Eden Park for their first Test match since 2019, led by Aucklander Ruahei Demant and have an exciting side to take the field.

Sevens superstars Sarah Hirini and Portia Woodman are in the starting line-up, Hirini alongside the returning Liana Mikaele-Tu’u and Charmaine McMenamin in the loose forwards, while Woodman combines with her Olympic gold medal winning teammate Ruby Tui on the wings.

Stacey Fluhler also returns, having played on the Northern Tour in 2021, this will be her first Test match this season, set to take the field from the bench.

Five members of the Farah Palmer Cup winning Canterbury side are in the starting line-up, including prop Pip Love who will run out in her 20th Test.

Of the Black Ferns Sevens players, Wayne Smith said it was good having them part of the squad.

“They are world class athletes; hugely professional in terms of their preparation and they came in knowing all the plays so I’m confident they’ve done the homework and they deserve an opportunity.”

It will be the first time the Black Ferns have faced Japan, who preparing for their fifth World Cup appearance.

“We wanted to play them. We’ve seen them play a couple of times this year, they beat Australia, they are quick and are going to be a different challenge for us which is important.

“This weekend we want to see a progression from where we have been. We didn’t play very well in Adelaide so now it’s a matter of getting better at what we are good at,” said Smith.

The team is;

  1. Pip Love (19)
  2. Luka Connor (8)
  3. Amy Rule (6)
  4. Joanah Ngan Woo (10)
  5. Chelsea Bremner (5)
  6. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (6)
  7. Sarah Hirini (10)
  8. Charmaine McMenamin (27)
  9. Kendra Cocksedge (61)
  10. Ruahei Demant (20) – Captain
  11. Ruby Tui (4)
  12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (12)
  13. Amy du Plessis (3)
  14. Portia Woodman (19)
  15. Renee Holmes (4)

  16. Georgia Ponsonby (6)
  17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (1)
  18. Santo Taumata (1)
  19. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (7)
  20. Kendra Reynolds (5)
  21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (9)
  22. Stacey Fluhler (20)
  23. Hazel Tubic (16)

Unavailable due to injury: Alana Bremner, Tanya Kalounivale, Krystal Murray, Kennedy Simon

Key Facts

- This will be the 1st Test between the Black Ferns and Japan.
- The Black Ferns will face Australia in their first Rugby World Cup fixture at Eden Park on 8 October.
- Pip Love and Portia Woodman will play their 20th Test this weekend.
- Auckland players Maiakawanakaulani Roos and Liana Mikaele-Tu’u will play their first Test at Eden Park.

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