Preview: Black Ferns v Samoa
allblacks.com 07 Jun 2014 Getty Images
Saturday, June 7, 2014, 17:00pm (NZT)
Head to head: Played 1, New Zealand 1, Samoa 0
Last time: New Zealand 50-0 Samoa (2006 Women's Rugby World Cup, St Albert, Canada)
TEAM UPDATE: Black Ferns head coach Brian Evans has made a considerable number of changes to the side that defeated Australia 38-3 last Sunday. A truckload of experience comes into the starting side. Fiao'o Fa'amausili returns to captain the side while eight other players return to the starting line-up. Rawinia Everitt moves from flanker to lock in the only positional change in the starting XV.
Samoa have had three players withdraw through injury. Alix Leaupepe's World Cup campaign looks to be in serious doubt after she ruptured her Achilles. Toreka Leti (knee) and Tracy Helleur have also been sidelined by injury.
FORM: The Black Ferns opened the series with a 38-3 win over Australia on Sunday. The first half was an unsurprisingly rusty display in the team's first 40 minutes of the international season. The inclusion of three debutants and two players making their run-on debuts also added to the sluggish start. But once that chemistry was combined with some strong leadership midway through the second half, everything clicked into place and they capitalised on a tiring Australian outfit.Samoa last played together in April as part of the team's succesful qualification campaign. With memories of late coach Peter Fatialofa still raw among many of the players, Saturday's match is an opportunity for the players and coach Euili Lale Saumuina to illustrate their development in a game Lale Saumuina is labelling a 'home derby'.
KEY PLAYERS: Emma Jensen has edged Kendra Cocksedge for the Eden Park encounter. The competition between the two has kept both at the top of their games. While Cocksedge is seen as the apprentice, Jensen's 12 years of experience with the Black Ferns will prove a handy acquisition.
Expect Jensen's combination with reliable first five-eighths Kelly Brazier to flourish on Saturday. Captain Cynthia Taala has only been within the Manusina setup for a year and already she has taken the reins of the side. A natural leader, Taala's athleticism has seen her transfer her skills from the New Zealand women's rugby league team, the Kiwi Ferns. A dynamic runner with ball in hand, expect to see her keep opposing lock Jackie Patea honest throughout the match.
New Zealand: 1. Ruth McKay, 2. Fiao'o Fa'amausili (capt), 3. Aleisha Nelson, 4. Jackie Patea, 5. Rawinia Everitt, 6. Aroha Savage, 7. Justine Lavea, 8. Casey Robertson, 9. Emma Jensen, 10. Kelly Brazier, 11. Renee Wickliffe, 12. Amiria Rule, 13. Huriana Manuel, 14. Honey Hireme, 15. Selica Winiata.
Substitutes: 16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, 17. Kathleen Wilton, 18, Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox, 19. Sanita Levave, 20. Linda Itunu, 21. Kendra Cocksedge, 22. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali23. Shakira Baker.
Samoa: 1. Ginia Muavae, 2. Sharlene Fagalilo, 3. Ala Leavasa-Bakulich, 4. Juliana Sua, 5. Cynthia Taala (capt), 6. Italia Tipelu, 7. Rita Lili'i, 8. Helen Collins, 9. Tulua Leuluaialii, 10. Bella Milo, 11. Justine Manaia-Luatua, 12. Merenaite Faitala-Mariner, 13. Maryann Collins, 14. Taliilagi Mefi, 15. Mele Leuluaialii
Substitutes: 16. Laura Levi, 17. Contessa Wright, 18. Sally Kaokao, 19. Vicki Campbell, 20. Bernadette Robertson, 21. Roseanne Leaupepe, 22. Brenda Collins, 23. Tile Start.
Note this match will be broadcast LIVE in NZ via Sky Sport.
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