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Black Ferns squad for International Women's Rugby Series

allblacks.com     29 Apr 2014    

The Black Ferns will play Australia, Samoa and Canada in the International Women’s Rugby Series in June before the Women’s Rugby World Cup squad is revealed.

- Three new caps
- Seven NZ Women's Sevens players
- 12 from 2010 champion squad

The Black Ferns squad for the 2014 International Women’s Rugby Series in Auckland and Bay of Plenty is (* denotes new cap):
 
FORWARDS:

Props

Ruth McKay (Manawatu)
Aleisha Nelson (Auckland)
Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox (Canterbury)
Kathleen Wilton (Otago)

Hookers

Fiao’o Fa’amausili (capt) (Auckland)
Te-Kura Ngata-Aerengamate * (Counties)

Locks

Eloise Blackwell (Auckland)
Sanita Levave* (Wellington)
Jackie Patea (Wellington)

Loose Forwards

Rawinia Everitt (Counties)
Linda Itunu (Auckland)
Justine Lavea (Auckland)
Casey Robertson (Canterbury)
Aroha Savage (Counties)

BACKS:

Halfbacks

Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury)
Emma Jensen (Auckland)

First five-eighths

Kelly Brazier (Otago)
Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali (Otago)

Midfielders

Honey Hireme * (Waikato)
Huriana Manuel (Auckland)
Claire Richardson (Auckland)
Amiria Rule (vice capt) (Canterbury)

Wing/Fullback

Shakira Baker (Manawatu)
Renee Wickliffe (Counties)
Portia Woodman (Auckland)
Selica Winiata (Manawatu)

Not available for selection due to injury:
Hazel Tubic

2013 Black Ferns unavailable for family reasons:
Victoria Grant
Vita Dryden
Karina Stowers

New Zealand Rugby Chairman Mike Eagle today congratulated the 26 members of the first Black Ferns squad for 2014.

“The Black Ferns represent a very special part of our game. As four-time World Champions, we know this is a team capable of achieving very special results. I know that the players will have an eye on securing a place in the Black Ferns squad to represent New Zealand as defending Champions at this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August.

“The International Series will also be a rare opportunity for rugby fans in the Bay of Plenty to get behind the black jersey when the Black Ferns play in Rotorua, Tauranga and Whakatane, and the curtain raiser against Manusina Samoa ahead of the All Blacks v England Test match will also be a special occasion. I wish the Black Ferns all the best for their coming Series.

The squad features three new caps - Wellington lock Sanita Levave, Women’s Sevens and Women’s Rugby League international Honey Hireme of Waikato, and Counties Manukau hooker Te-Kura Ngata-Aerengamate. The side also features five former Black Ferns who were not in the side last year and features seven players currently in the New Zealand Women’s Sevens contracted squad. A total of 12 players were in the World Cup winning 2010 squad.

Black Ferns Coach Brian Evans said competition had been fierce this year with players knowing that the June squad was a trial run for the World Cup.

“We have been very impressed with the work the players have put in, and we’re delighted to have three new caps in the squad as well as the return of some familiar faces who were not with us last year through injury and personal commitments.

“We were very impressed with Sanita Levave as a new cap – she’s obviously worked very hard with Wellington team mate Jackie Patea to push for a spot in the squad. Sanita is big, strong and fast and has got herself into great shape so we’re excited about having her on board.

“Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate has excellent ball-carrying skills for a hooker so we know she’ll bring something special to the front row. Anyone who has seen Honey Hireme play will know how dangerous her speed and strength can be in both attack and on defence.

“We’re delighted to have Huriana Manuel and Linda Itunu back in the fold – and I know that their leadership with the Women’s Sevens team will add value to this side.

“Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali comes back into the 2014 side after injury sidelined her last year which is great news. I think we have an incredibly exciting backline and our tight five is pretty impressive so I’m very happy with our squad.

“We have been very fortunate that despite Victoria Grant (fullback), Vita Dryden (lock) and Karina Stowers (hooker) declaring themselves unavailable due to being pregnant, we have had some great competition for all positions. We think we have an exciting mix of experience and that’s important for on-field decision making, as well as youthful talent and energy which will create a competitive edge within the side.

“We’re all looking forward to the Test matches against Australia in Rotorua, against Manusina Samoa at Eden Park, and Canada in Tauranga and Rotorua.

“This is a unique opportunity for people to see this special team playing at home.”

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

For more information about these matches, and to purchase your tickets to the Bay of Plenty Test matches, visit http://www.boprugby.co.nz