Black Ferns to play Manusina Samoa     13 Mar 2014    

- International Women’s Rugby Series schedule released
The current Women’s Rugby World Cup champion Black Ferns will play Samoa as a curtain raiser to the All Blacks v England opening match of the Steinlager Series at Eden Park on Saturday 7 June.

The Test match against Manusina Samoa expands the 2014 International Women’s Rugby Series with Test matches against Canada and Australia in the Bay of Plenty already announced in October last year.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew welcomed the additional Test match as a great celebration of two close Rugby nations.

“This is a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to see both our World Cup champion All Blacks and Black Ferns on the same night, at the same ground.

“The addition of Samoa to the International Women’s Rugby Series is also a great opportunity for Samoan fans to get behind their women’s team at Eden Park.

“Many of those in and around the Manusina will be familiar to some of our players and management in the Black Ferns so we know that the connections are already close.

“New Zealand and Auckland Rugby in particular have long enjoyed warm ties with our Pacific Rugby neighbours and we know from Rugby World Cup 2011 that Samoan fans know how to get behind their team so we expect it to be a fantastic curtain raiser Test match,” Tew said.

Samoan Prime Minister and Samoa Rugby Union Chairman Tuilaepa Sailele said: “This is a first, Manusina taking on the mighty Black Ferns at Eden Park. There has not been a Test match between Samoa and New Zealand Women’s Rugby since 2006, but never in New Zealand, so this is a great opportunity for Manusina to also prepare for the upcoming World Cup in France in August this year. We commend New Zealand Rugby for assisting Samoa’s Manusina, the third Pacific Oceania team to the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.”

Tickets for the Black Ferns v Samoa and All Blacks v England double-header event(one ticket provides access to both fixtures) go on sale next month.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Rugby and Bay of Plenty Rugby today released the complete schedule for the International Women’s Rugby Series.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Chief Executive Mike Rogers said they were excited to be hosting the Black Ferns, Australia and Canada.

“Having hosted the National Sevens tournament in January, we know that our community gets behind great rugby events. We’re looking forward to hosting these teams just weeks out from their Women’s Rugby World Cup campaigns.

“We are particularly excited to be hosting the Black Ferns and Canada in Whakatane which will be a great opportunity for locals to see some of the best talent in women’s world rugby, on their doorstep,” Mr Rogers said.

The International Women’s Rugby Series schedule is as follows:

Sunday 1 June:
Black Ferns v Australia
Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua
Kick-off 5:40pm

Friday 6 June:
Australia v Canada
Tauranga Domain, Tauranga
Kick-off 2:30pm

Saturday 7 June:
Black Ferns v Samoa (curtain raiser to All Blacks v England)
Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 5:00pm

Tuesday 10 June:
Black Ferns v Canada
Tauranga Domain, Tauranga
Kick-off 2:30pm

Saturday 14 June:
Black Ferns v Canada
Rugby Park, Whakatane
Kick-off 2:30pm