Match Details: Black Ferns v England, Sunday 31 October, 2.30pm local time (3.30am Monday NZT), Sandy Park Exeter.
MILESTONE TEST MATCH
It’s been well documented that this is a momentous occasion for the Black Ferns on Sunday. It’s their 100th Test match. The first sanctioned Black Ferns Test match was played in 1991 at a World Cup in in Glamorgan, Wales. They defeated Canada 24-8 and have since gone onto have a remarkable winning percentage. Having won 86 of their 99 Tests to date, they have a winning percentage of 86.9% and with five World Cup titles under their belt, they are the most successful rugby team in the World.
LONG TIME COMING
Another point that has been well documented is that this will be the first Test match the Black Ferns have played in over two years. Their last Test was against Australia at Eden Park in August 2019. They’ve played in-house matches and games against the New Zealand Barbarian side, but nothing compares to a Test match and this weekend is massive. It doesn’t get much bigger than playing age-old rivals England on their own backyard. England have had a lot more game time over the last 12 to 18 months, having played in the Six Nations, but the Black Ferns won’t be using any excuses as they prepare for this clash. They’ve wanted to play the best opposition in the world ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, and that’s what they are getting.
A whopping nine players will make their Black Ferns debut at Exeter’s Sandy Park. Kelsie Wills, Alana Bremner and Sevens star Dhys Faleafaga in the forwards and set to come off the pine in their first Test will be Grace Houpapa-Barrett, Krystal Murray, Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, Ariana Bayler, Patricia Maliepo and Renee Holmes. Some incredibly exciting young talent set to be unleashed on the world stage.
TEAMS (* indicates debut)
1. Pip Love 2. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 3. Aleisha-Pearl Nelson 4. Eloise Blackwell 5. Kelsie Wills* 6. Alana Bremner* 7. Les Elder © 8. Dhys Faleafaga* 9. Kendra Cocksedge 10. Ruahei Demant 11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga 12. Chelsea Alley 13. Stacey Fluhler 14. Renee Wickliffe 15. Renee Holmes*
16. Grace Houpapa-Barrett* 17. Krystal Murray* 18. Aldora Itunu 19. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u* 20. Kennedy Simon 21. Ariana Bayler* 22. Patricia Maliepo* 23. Grace Brooker
1. Hannah Botterman 2. Lark Davies 3. Sarah Bern 4. Poppy Cleall 5. Abbie Ward 6. Zoe Aldcroft 7. Marlie Packer 8. Sarah Hunter © 9. Claudia MacDonald 10. Zoe Harrison 11. Abby Dow 12. Amber Reed 13. Holly Aitchison 14. Lydia Thompson 15. Ellie Kildunne
16. Amy Cokayne 17. Vickii Cornborough 18. Maud Muir 19. Harriet Millar-Mills 20. Alex Matthews 21. Leanne Infante 22. Helena Rowland 23. Lagi Tuima