Match Details: Black Ferns v England, Sunday 7 November, 2.45pm local time (3.45am Monday NZT) Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton.
Thorough reviews have taken place in Northampton this week as the Black Ferns prepare for their second Test against the Red Roses, who were utterly dominant in their 43-12 win over the defending World Champions in Exeter last weekend. New Zealand were outplayed in every area of the game and their setpiece woes were heavily exposed. They lost eight lineouts and three scrums and were unable to make the most of ball in hand, making just 350 metres compared to England’s 600. The seven-tries-to-two romping would not have gone down well in the Black Ferns camp. Assistant coach Wes Clarke confirming their review was brutal and that their performance simply must be better this weekend. Portia Woodman comes onto the right wing, with Grace Brooker linking up with Stacey Fluhler in the midfield and veteran Carla Hohepa providing cover from the bench. In the forwards, Grace Houpapa-Barrett starts at hooker with Joanah Ngan-Woo is in for Eloise Blackwell at lock. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u replaces Dhys Faleafaga at the back of the scrum.
One of the shining lights in last week’s defeat was winger Ayesha Leti-I’iga. Every single time she touched the ball she made something of it. The 22 year-old was incredibly tough to bring down for the England defenders and she created so many opportunities. She, as well as the Black Ferns coaches will be hoping a few more of her offloads go to hand this weekend and the team can capitalise on her bustling breaks.
After nine players made their Black Ferns debut in the first Test, a couple more are set to do the same in Northampton. Black Ferns Sevens playmaker Chey Robins-Reti has been named to start at fullback. She’s no stranger to playing on the international stage, having played 19 games on the World Sevens circuit. She’s joined by Canterbury prop Amy Rule who’s on the pine and Auckland lock Maia Roos. Rule is a hardcase 21 year-old who only started playing rugby in her last two years at Central Southland College. While Roos, a former Head Girl of Tamaki College, had an outstanding Farah Palmer Cup season for Auckland and impressed for the Blues in the inaugural Super Rugby women’s match against the Chiefs earlier this year.
TEAMS (* indicates debut)
1. Phillipa Love 2. Grace Houpapa-Barrett 3. Aleisha-Pearl Nelson 4. Joanah Ngan-Woo 5. Kelsie Wills 6. Alana Bremner 7. Les Elder © 8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u 9. Kendra Cocksedge 10. Ruahei Demant 11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga 12. Grace Brooker 13. Stacey Fluhler 14. Portia Woodman 15. Chey Robins-Reti*
16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 17. Aldora Itunu 18. Amy Rule* 19. Maiakawanakaulani Roos* 20. Kennedy Simon 21. Ariana Bayler 22. Patricia Maliepo 23. Carla Hohepa
1. Vickii Cornborough 2. Amy Cokayne 3. Sarah Bern 4. Zoe Aldcroft 5. Abbie Ward 6. Alex Matthews 7. Marlie Packer 8. Poppy Cleall © 9. Leanne Infante 10. Zoe Harrison 11. Abigail Dow 12. Helena Rowland 13. Holly Aitchison 14. Lydia Thompson 15. Ellie Kildunne
16. Lark Davies 17. Hannah Botterman 18. Maud Muir 19. Harriet Millar-Mills 20. Sarah Hunter 21. Claudia MacDonald 22. Lagi Tuima 23. Sarah McKenna