The team is;
1. Pip Love (17)
2. Georgia Ponsonby (5)
3. Tanya Kalounivale (2)
4. Joanah Ngan-Woo (8)
5. Chelsea Bremner (3)
6. Alana Bremner (6)
7. Kennedy Simon (8) – co-captain
8. Charmaine McMenamin (25)
9. Kendra Cocksedge (60)
10. Ruahei Demant (18) – co-captain
11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (15)
12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (11)
13. Amy du Plessis (2)
14. Ruby Tui (2)
15. Renee Holmes (3)
16. Luka Connor (6)
17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu – debut
18. Amy Rule (5)
19. Tafito Lafaele (2)
20. Kendra Reynolds (3)
21. Tyla Nathan-Wong – debut
22. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’I (Sylvia) Brunt (2)
23. Hazel Tubic (14)
Not available for selection due to injury: Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali
After claiming the Pacific Four Series on home soil in June, the Black Ferns are eyeing the defence of the O’Reilly Cup as they build towards Rugby World Cup.
Loose forwards Kennedy Simon and Charmaine McMenamin are named in the starting line-up, both returning from injury for their first Test match in 2022. Simon will wear the captain's armband alongside Ruahei Demant who led the team during the Pacific Four Series. The Waikato loose forward was named Black Ferns Player of the Year in 2021 but missed June's series with a knee injury.
Sevens exponent Theresa Fitzpatrick, who was part of the 2017 World Cup winning Black Ferns, plays her first Test since 2019 and will combine with Amy du Plessis in the midfield. Her sevens teammate, Tyla Nathan-Wong, is one of two debutants named on the bench.
Nathan-Wong is an internationally decorated sevens player, but will make her Black Ferns XVs debut off the pine on Saturday, while prop Awhina Tangen-Wainohu is also in line to make her debut.
Black Ferns Head Coach Wayne Smith said there is real significance in defending the O’Reilly Cup in the city where Laurie O’Reilly had such an influence on the game of rugby.
“My want to get involved with the Black Ferns started as a tribute to Laurie who was a great mate and mentor of mine; he inspired me to be a coach and I feel really fortunate to have had such a great relationship with him.
“Every Test match is special, but the significance of playing for this trophy in Christchurch this weekend is not lost on our team,” said Smith.
Waikato halfback Ariana Bayler has been released to play Farah Palmer Cup for Waikato this weekend and will rejoin the squad for Test week in Adelaide.
- This will be the 21st 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 played in the Black Ferns most recent Test in Christchurch in 2017.
- Waikato Farah Palmer Cup co-captain Kennedy Simon will also co-captain the Black Ferns, alongside Ruahei Demant, for the first time.
- Charmaine McMenamin, who was named Black Ferns Player of the Year in 2019, returns to Test rugby after a potentially career-ending injury. It will be her first Test since 2019.
- Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (Waikato) and Tyla Nathan-Wong (Northland) are in line to become the most recent Black Ferns debutants should they come on from the bench.
Schedule (times in NZT)
Black Ferns vs Australia, Saturday 20 August, 7.05PM, Orangetheory Stadium, CHRISTCHURCH
Black Ferns vs Australia, Saturday 27 August, 2.45pm, Adelaide Oval, ADELAIDE