Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu named to captain Black Ferns in final pool fixture

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Coaches have again made a raft of changes to the match-day 23 as all members of the squad get game time in the pool phases of the competition.

The Black Ferns team is:

1: Phillipa Love (21)
2: Georgia Ponsonby (9)
3: Amy Rule (8)
4: Joanah Ngan-Woo (13)
5: Maiakawanakaulani Roos (10)
6: Alana Bremner (9)
7: Sarah Hirini (13)
8: Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (8)
9: Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (11) – captain
10: Hazel Tubic (19)
11: Ayesha Leti-I’iga (17)
12: Theresa Fitzpatrick (14)
13: Amy du Plessis (6)
14: Renee Wickliffe (46)
15: Renee Holmes (6)

16: Natalie Delamare (2)
17: Krystal Murray (5)
18: Tanya Kalounivale (5)
19: Chelsea Bremner (8)
20: Kendra Reynolds (8)
21: Kendra Cocksedge (64)
22: Sylvia Brunt (6)
23: Ruahei Demant (23)

Unavailable due to injury: Stacey Fluhler and Kennedy Simon

In just her second start for the Black Ferns, halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu will lead the side, combining with her Counties Manukau teammate Hazel Tubic who is named to start at first five-eighths.

Marino-Tauhinu was raised in Northland, playing her junior club rugby at Ohaeawai Rugby Club and attending Okaihau College.

Director of Rugby Wayne Smith said that Marino-Tauhinu has impressed all year and will be a great leader on the field this weekend.

“The last time we played up here in Whangarei, Arihiana started and was player of the match; she deserves this start. She is in our leadership group and is already a respected leader in the team, so we have full confidence in her captaining the side on Saturday."

In other changes, two further players are set to make their Rugby World Cup debut this week. Explosive winger Ayesha Leti-I’iga makes her return from injury and hooker Natalie Delamare is named on the bench.

An all-Canterbury front row sees Georgia Ponsonby flanked by Pip Love and Amy Rule in the starting pack, while Liana Mikaele-Tu’u returns and joins Sarah Hirini and Alana Bremner in the loose forwards.

Theresa Fitzpatrick and Amy du Plessis combine in the midfield, having previously been the starting midfield during the O’Reilly Cup Series in Christchurch in August.

Smith said the Black Ferns have been continually improving over the past month together and this weekend was about putting that on the field.

“We’ve seen bits and pieces of the game we want to play so this Test is about bringing that all together for a more complete performance. We expect Scotland to be tough up front, so our attitude will need to be there right from kick off,” said Smith.

The Black Ferns and Scotland have not met in a Test in 15 years. In the three previous encounters the Black Ferns have been successful winning 21-0 in 2006, 30-9 in 2005 and 76-0 in 1998.

Already confirmed a spot in the quarter finals, Saturday’s pool match will determine what seeding position the Black Ferns will take into the play offs.

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