Kendra Cocksedge is set to become the most capped Black Fern of all time, with Ruahei Demant to captain for the first time. There are seven players in line for their Black Ferns debut.
The team is:
1. Krystal Murray (1)
2. Georgia Ponsonby (2)
3. Amy Rule (3)
4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (3)
5. Cheslea Bremner - debut
6. Alana Bremner (3)
7. Kendra Reynolds (1)
8. Kaipo Olsen-Baker - debut
9. Kendra Cocksedge (57)
10. Ruahei Demant (15) - captain
11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (12)
12. Chelsea Semple (26)
13. Kelsey Teneti - debut
14. Ruby Tui - debut
15. Renee Holmes (1)
16. Luka Connor (4)
17. Angel Mulu - debut
18. Tanya Kalounivale – debut
19. Joanah Ngan-Woo (5)
20. Tafito Lafaele -debut
21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (6)
22. Hazel Tubic (11)
23. Cheyelle Robins-Reti (3)
16 years on from her Black Ferns debut, halfback Kendra Cocksedge makes history on Monday, running out for her 58th Test, making her the most capped player in the team’s history.
“It’s going to a very exciting day for me and my family especially bringing up this milestone on home turf. We've had an awesome week building up to the Test and can’t wait to get out there on Monday,” said Cocksedge.
Black Ferns Director of Rugby Wayne Smith said that Cocksedge’s contribution to the team has been monumental.
“Kendra is a great role model. She played her part behind Emma Jensen for a long time, which shows how much perseverance she has and how much she loves this jersey,” said Smith.
At the other end of the experience scale, seven debutants are named in the match day 23.
No stranger to the black jersey, albeit in the shorter form of the game, Ruby Tui starts on the wing, while Chelsea Bremner debuts at lock, with her young sister Alana also in the starting pack.
Young Gisborne players Kaipo Olsen-Baker and Kelsey Teneti also debut in the starting XV, while props Angel Mulu and Tanya Kalounivale along with flanker Tafito Lafaele are in line for a debut off the bench.
“We are looking at these series before the World Cup as an opportunity for players to put their best foot forward. We’re really impressed with some of our younger players, they’re in good condition and deserve a crack.
“I’ve always seen selection as an easy process, the players select themselves – we just have to write the names down,” said Smith.
Six players in the starting line up made their debut on last year’s Northern Tour, with experience scattered across the team coming from the likes of Chelsea Semple (nee Alley), Hazel Tubic and Ayesha Leti-I’iga.
The Black Ferns opposition, Australia, come to New Zealand after a Test series against Fiji and Japan. The Test on Monday will follow the USA and Canada going head to head from 12.15pm.
“Its exciting having these Tests in our own country and that brings with it some pressure. I want this series to be exhilarating for the country and the players, we’ve got a game that can do that – we just have to put it out on the field,” said Smith.
- This will be the 20th Test between the Black Ferns and Australia, the Black Ferns have won every previous Test between the nations.
- The teams first met in 1994, and last faced each other at Eden Park in 2019, which was the Black Ferns last domestic Test match.
- Ruahei Demant captains the side for the first time.
- Halfback Kendra Cocksedge becomes the most capped player in the Black Ferns history with 58 caps, Monday will be her 50th consecutive Test.
Black Ferns Pacific Four fixtures
Black Ferns vs Australia
Monday 6 June, 2.45PM, Tauranga Domain
Black Ferns vs Canada
Sunday 12 June, 2.45PM, Trusts Arena, Waitākere
Black Ferns vs USA
Saturday 18 June, 4.00PM, Semenoff Stadium, Whangārei