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Black Ferns named to play Canada in Super Series

allblacks.com     27 Jun 2019    

The team is (number of Test caps in brackets * indicates debut):

1. Toka Natua (16)
2. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (24)
3. Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (29)
4. Eloise Blackwell (37)
5. Charmaine Smith (21)
6. Charmaine McMenamin (19)
7. Les Elder (Captain, 13)
8. Pia Tapsell*
9. Kendra Cocksedge (Vice captain, 47)
10. Ruahei Demant (5)
11. Ayesha Leti-I'iga (3)
12. Chelsea Alley (18)
13. Carla Hohepa (19)
14. Renee Wickliffe (35)
15. Selica Winiata (Vice captain, 36)

16. Luka Connor*
17. Phillipa Love (7)
18. Leilani Perese (5) / Olivia Ward-Duin*
19. Karli Faneva*
20. Marcelle Parkes (2)
21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu*
22. Krysten Cottrell (5)
23. Alena Saili (2)

North Harbour No.8 Pia Tapsell has been named to make her first Test start in the series opener.

Tapsell, 20, has been a standout for her province where she has established herself as the most prolific try-scorer in North Harbour women’s rugby history.

The Bay of Plenty pair, of hooker Luka Connor and loose forward Karli Faneva, Counties Manukau halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu have all been named to make their Test debuts from the reserves. Ward-Duin is bracketed with Leilani Perese at this stage. 

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said the coaching team had been watching Tapsell closely for the past two years.

“She’s a very physical player and a good ball carrier and she came through strongly in the match against the Barbarians. Pia thoroughly deserves her start.”

Moore made special mention of Marino-Tauhinu, who spent time with the Black Ferns without taking the field in the past, saying she had earned her recall through hard work for her province.
Centre Carla Hohepa and prop Toka Natua will wear the black jersey for the first time since the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup final in Belfast.

Hohepa, 33, took time out to have a baby and Moore said the speedy Waikato midfielder/wing was back to her best form and eager to make her mark in the series.

“Carla is a very experienced player and we’ve always believed she is world class. She’s worked hard to get back in great physical shape and shown some good signs in all the lead-up games. She’s also part of our leadership group and is influential on and off the field.”

Moore said Natua – also from Waikato – had earned her selection in a highly competitive position.

“We’ve decided to go with Toka in this instance. She was the player of the World Cup Final, she’s had a year off, she’s back, and we want to see what she brings.”

The Black Ferns play Canada in their first match of the Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019, a series which also includes USA, France and England. Moore said his team last played Canada in 2017 and he expected them to be big, strong and fast.

“We know Canada has one of the best scrums – if not the best – scrum in the world and we know they like to be physical. They’ve certainly got pace, so we expect them to bring a lot to the game.

“We’ve recovered well from our travel and have been preparing for this for months now. Everyone can’t wait to get out there and play.”

Black Ferns 2019 schedule

Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019 in San Diego, USA

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
Saturday, 29 June
v Canada
Kickoff: 11am (NZT)

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
Wednesday, 3 July
v USA
Kickoff: 12.15pm (NZT)

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
Sunday, 7 July
v France
Kickoff: 9.15am (NZT)

San Diego State University’s Torero Stadium
Monday, 15 July
v England
Kickoff: 8am (NZT)

Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy
Optus Stadium, Perth
Saturday 10 August
v Australia (With All Blacks v Australia)
Kickoff: 7pm (NZT)

Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday 17 August
v Australia (With All Blacks v Australia)
Kickoff: 5pm (NZT)

Broadcasting
All matches will be broadcast live in New Zealand on SKY Sport 1 and Flo Sports internationally.