Five Talking Points: Pacific Four Series 2022

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The three match days will feature double headers, so fans can catch two high quality matches in one place. Here are five talking points leading into the World Rugby tournament.


Black Ferns at home

When the Black Ferns open their campaign against the Wallaroos, it will be 1030 days since they last played a Test on home soil. The last time the Black Ferns played at home was on August 17, 2019 when they beat Australia 37-8 at Eden Park. 


Of the 103 Tests the Black Ferns have played since 1991, only 28 have been at home. The Black Ferns have won 26 of those matches with the first a 64-0 win over Australia in Waitematā in 1995. Legendary wing Vanessa Cootes scored four tries on her debut. 


The last time the Black Ferns played in Whangārei was in 2003 when they beat a World XV selection 37-19.


In 2014 they edged Canada 16-8 in heavy conditions at the Tauranga Domain (the venue for the opening Test). The Black Ferns played a New Zealand Barbarians side in Waitākere in 2020. 



Fresh faces in the Black Ferns

All Black World Cup winning coaches Wayne Smith and Sir Graham Henry, Olympic Sevens gold medalist coach Alan Bunting and Whitney Hansen join Wes Clarke in a new coaching line up for the Black Ferns.


There has been a change in leadership since the November tour of the UK and France with Ruahei Demant stepping in for the unavailable Les Elder. Capped 15 times, Demant is a gifted pivot, who can play 10 and 12. 


There were seven new caps named in the 31-strong squad earlier this month. Black Ferns Sevens headliner Ruby Tui's been named as a winger. Six new forwards will look to bring greater steel and mobility to the pack. 


Props Tanya Kalounivale and Angel Mulu are rewarded for their powerful form in helping the Chiefs Manawa win the inaugural Sky Super Rugby Aupiki. Lucy Anderson, a veteran of 58 games for Canterbury, covers both sides of the scrum while Bay of Plenty’s Natalie Delamere was a standout hooker for the New South Wales Waratahs in the Australian Super Rugby competition. 


Tafito Lafaele played basketball, netball, volleyball, sevens and athletics to a high level at Botany Downs College. The 21-year old furthered her considerable athletic prowess with outstanding form for the Blues in Aupiki. 


Kaipo Olsen-Baker is the youngest squad member, aged 19. She has been earmarked for higher honours since she played for the New Zealand Barbarians against the Black Ferns in 2020. She was damaging at No.8 for the Hurricanes Poua.


Trans-Tasman rivalry resumes

Australia are the Black Ferns most frequent rivals with the Trans-Tasman countries having clashed 19 times. New Zealand has never lost a Test to the Wallaroos. Australia beat Fijiana 36-19 in their first test in 956 days on May 6. However a 10-12 loss to Japan less than a week later was a major shock. 


The Wallaroos mostly consist of members from the Waratahs who won 21 consecutive matches over four seasons of Australian Super Rugby. Skipper Shannon Parry is as good as any in the back row while prop Liz Patu holds the record for most Wallaroos caps with 25. Georgina Friedrichs has crossed over to fifteens, following a successful career in sevens. 


Ambitious Canada

Canada appears to be the toughest opposition the Black Ferns will face in PAC4. They’ve never lost to Australia in three Tests and in November 2021 defeated the USA in a two-test series in Glendale, Colorado. 


In April they hosted a camp for 45 players in Langford with 32 making the trip to New Zealand. In addition to PAC4 fixtures, Canada will play Italy in July and Wales in August before the World Cup. 


DaLeaka Menin, Emily Tuttosi, McKinley Hunt, Emma Taylor and Paige Farries are among a handful of players plying their trade in the English Premier 15s competition. Flanker Karen Paquin is a genuine superstar in both sevens and fifteens. 


Canada were runners up at the 2014 World Cup and have competed every year on the World Rugby Sevens series finishing second or third seven times in a decade of competition. 



USA building

The USA are only one of three countries to have beaten the Black Ferns, but have never matched the heights of winning the first World Cup in 1991. 


However, they were semi-finalists at the 2017 World Cup (losing to the Black Ferns) and will bring a confident squad to New Zealand following victories over Wales and WPL Selects (a selection of the leading players in the US Women’s Premier League).


USA will play Australia for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. Current squad members Hope Rogers and Meya Bizer were part of that win eight years ago. 


USA has 19 players who have played in the English club comp. Nick James, Joanna Kitlinski, and Catie Benson are all front-rowers from the Sale Sharks. Jenny Kronish was invited to trial for the Israel Under-19 soccer team in 2014, but standing at six-foot-two chose rugby instead. 


Loosie Jordan Matyas went to the Olympics in Tokyo for sevens and has been named MVP of the US Women’s Premier League. Centre Gabby Cantorna isn’t big in stature but was a four-time National Collegiate Champion at Penn State. She played against the Black Ferns in the historic Soldier Field test in Chicago in 2018. 


Pacific Four Series 2022 match schedule: 

Monday, 6 June – 12.15pm

Canada v USA - Tauranga Domain, Tauranga


Monday, 6 June – 2.45pm

New Zealand v Australia - Tauranga Domain, Tauranga


Sunday, 12 June – 12.15pm

USA v Australia - The Trusts Arena, Waitakere, Auckland 


Sunday, 12 June – 2.45pm

Canada v New Zealand - The Trusts Arena, Waitakere, Auckland 


Saturday, 18 June – 1.30pm

Australia v Canada - Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei  


Saturday, 18 June – 4pm

New Zealand v USA - Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei


Tickets are as cheap as $5, with reserved seating no more than $15 for adults. Be part of the action. Get your tickets HERE.



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