Black Ferns set to defend O’Reilly Cup in Christchurch

Black Ferns set to defend O’Reilly Cup in Christchurch

Black Ferns coaches Wayne Smith, Wes Clarke and Whitney Hansen have named their side for the first of two O’Reilly Cup Tests, to be played in Christchurch, this Saturday (kick off 7.05pm).

The team is;

  1. Pip Love (17)
  2. Georgia Ponsonby (5)
  3. Tanya Kalounivale (2)
  4. Joanah Ngan Woo (8)
  5. Chelsea Bremner (3)
  6. Alana Bremner (6)
  7. Kennedy Simon (8) – co-captain
  8. Charmaine McMenamin (25)
  9. Kendra Cocksedge (60)
  10. Ruahei Demant (18) – co-captain
  11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (15)
  12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (11)
  13. Amy du Plessis (2)
  14. Ruby Tui (2)
  15. Renee Holmes (3)

  16. Luka Connor (6)
  17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu – debut
  18. Amy Rule (5)
  19. Tafito Lafaele (2)
  20. Kendra Reynolds (3)
  21. Tyla Nathan-Wong – debut
  22. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’I (Sylvia) Brunt (2)
  23. Hazel Tubic (14)

Not available for selection due to injury: Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali

After claiming the Pacific Four Series on home soil in June, the Black Ferns are eyeing the defence of the O’Reilly Cup as they build towards Rugby World Cup.

Loose forwards Kennedy Simon and Charmaine McMenamin are named in the starting line-up, both returning from injury for their first Test match in 2022. Simon will wear the captain's armband alongside Ruahei Demant who led the team during the Pacific Four Series. The Waikato loose forward was named Black Ferns Player of the Year in 2021 but missed June's series with a knee injury.

Sevens exponent Theresa Fitzpatrick, who was part of the 2017 World Cup winning Black Ferns, plays her first Test since 2019 and will combine with Amy du Plessis in the midfield. Her sevens teammate, Tyla Nathan-Wong, is one of two debutants named on the bench.

Nathan-Wong is an internationally decorated sevens player, but will make her Black Ferns XVs debut off the pine on Saturday, while prop Awhina Tangen-Wainohu is also in line to make her debut.

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