Saturday 1 May, 4:35pm, Eden Park
Live on Sky Sport NZ, Stan Sport in Australia and Rugby Pass in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Asia & the Middle East.
Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr
Assistant 1: Lauren Jenner
Assistant 2: Tiana Ngawati
TMO: Lee Jeffery
BLACK FERNS GALORE
There are 16 Black Ferns featuring in this match, eight in each side. The Blues boast 167 Test caps, while the Chiefs have 84. The Blues are captained by current Black Ferns skipper Eloise Blackwell, while the Chiefs are being led by Les Elder who has also captained the national side. The Blues have a lot of the experienced Black Ferns like prop Aleisha-Pearl Nelson, flanker Charmaine McMenamin and hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate. But the Chiefs have some of the newer generation. Lock Kelsie Wills, flanker Kennedy Simon and hooker Luka Connor. Expect some brilliant match-ups right across the park.
FUTURE IS LOOKING BRIGHT
A number of teenagers will be on display at Eden Park, with the Blues naming eight in their 23. The Chiefs also have their fair share of young up-and-comers. 18 year-old Patricia Maliepo will be one to watch at 10 for the Blues, up against the experienced Hazel Tubic. Sylvia Brunt is still at school and made a name for herself scoring a sensational try for Auckland in the Farah Palmer Cup last season. She links up with Black Fern Ruahei Demant in the midfield. Kelsie Teneti and Renee Holmes have been named on the right wing and fullback respectively for the Chiefs. 21 year-old Holmes made her Black Ferns debut against the Barbarians last year, while Teneti is a promising young winger out of the Waikato province.
There are several mouth-watering match ups to keep an eye out for on Saturday, but the one we are most excited about it is at No 8. Charmaine McMenamin v Kennedy Simon. The two hard-nosed loose forwards had stellar Farah Palmer Cup campaigns last year and were stand-outs in the November Black Ferns series against the Barbarians. McMenamin has 25 Test caps to her name, while Simon has notched up four since her debut in 2019. The 24 year-old was voted New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association Player of the Year last year, with McMenamin picking up the gong a year before at the New Zealand Rugby Awards. They are both well-respected within the rugby circles and will bring plenty of fire to the historic clash.
Blues: 1. Krystal Murray 2. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 3. Aleisha-Pearl Nelson 4. Eloise Blackwell © 5. Maia Roos 6. Lisa Molia 7. Kate Williams 8. Charmaine McMenamin 9. Luisa Togotogorua 10. Patricia Maliepo 11. Natahlia Moors 12. Ruahei Demant 13. Sylvia Brunt 14. Princess Elliot 15. Hayley Hutana
Reserves: 16. Saphire Abraham 17. Aldora Itunu 18. Cristo Tofa 19. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u 20. Shannon Leota 21. Moana Cook 22. Tyler Nankivell 23. Daynah Nankivell
Chiefs: 1. Angel Mulu 2. Luka Connor 3. Tanya Kalounivale 4. Kelsie Wills 5. Chyna Hohepa 6. Kendra Reynolds 7. Les Elder © 8. Kennedy Simon 9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu 10. Hazel Tubic 11. Langi Veainu 12. Chelsea Alley 13. Ngatokotoru Arakua 14. Kelsey Teneti 15. Renee Holmes
Reserves: 16. Grace Houpapa-Barrett 17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu 18. Leilani Perese 19. Harono Te Iringa 20. Pia Tapsell 21. Ariana Bayler 22. Shyanne Thompson 23. Iritana Hohaia