Two debutants feature in Black Ferns clash against Australia

Two debutants feature in Black Ferns clash against Australia

Black Ferns coaches Wayne Smith, Wes Clarke and Whitney Hansen have made several changes to the side that locked in the O’Reilly Cup for another year with victory in Christchurch last weekend. The team will face Australia in the second Test in Adelaide this Saturday.

The team is;

  1. Pip Love (18)
  2. Luka Connor (7)
  3. Amy Rule (6)
  4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (6)
  5. Joanah Ngan Woo (9)
  6. Alana Bremner (7)
  7. Kendra Reynolds (4)
  8. Kennedy Simon (9) – co-captain
  9. Ariana Bayler (4)
  10. Ruahei Demant (19) – co-captain
  11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (16)
  12. Chelsea Semple (28)
  13. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt (3)
  14. Ruby Tui (3)
  15. Grace Steinmetz – debut

  16. Natalie Delamare (1)
  17. Krystal Murray (3)
  18. Santo Taumata – debut
  19. Chelsea Bremner (4)
  20. Charmaine McMenamin (26)
  21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (8)
  22. Renee Holmes (4)
  23. Hazel Tubic (15)

Two further players will make their international debut this series, with Bay of Plenty teenager Santo Taumata to come off the bench, while outside back Grace Steinmetz will add to her one Black Ferns match in 2020, with her first Test on Saturday.

Elsewhere Ariana Bayler will make her first start at halfback, while Chelsea Semple and Maiakawanakaulani Roos are also named in the starting line-up after missing last week’s Test.

Both Theresa Fitzpatrick and Tyla Nathan-Wong have returned to the Black Ferns Sevens programme as they build for the Rugby World Cup Sevens early next month.

Black Ferns Director of Rugby Wayne Smith said while the result last week was strong on the scoreboard, the coaches and players were aligned on what needed to be worked on this week.

“I felt we played well; we saw an improvement in our forward play and our defence but our skill execution was poor.

“We are wanting to play a fast, attacking game on top of the opposition which requires a specific skillset, so its area that requires more effort.”

While injury and illness has plagued Steinmetz’ year to date, Smith said they are looking forward to seeing her get her shot.

“Grace is very good defensively, she has good footwork and is good at getting that final pass away. Clearly we know she can play on the wing but we want to see how she goes at fullback.”

Of Santo Taumata, the former Te Puke High School student, Smith believes Saturday will be the start of big things.

“For a 19-year-old she is phenomenal. Santo is immensely strong, she’s a good scrumager and is very quick off the ground. We might just see the birth of a star.”

The Black Ferns will be looking for a strong performance, before they meet Australia again on the opening day of Rugby World Cup at Eden Park in October.


Key Facts

- This will be the 22nd Test between the Black Ferns and Australia, the Black Ferns have won every previous Test between the nations.

- The Black Ferns will face Australia in their first Rugby World Cup fixture at Eden Park on 8 October.

- Ariana Bayler makes her first start in the number 9 jersey, her previous four Tests were off the bench on last year’s End of Year tour.

- Grace Steinmetz’s uncle, Paul Steinmetz, played one Test for the All Blacks in 2002.

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