Match details: Black Ferns v Wallaroos, Saturday 20 August, 7.05pm NZT, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Watch: Live on Sky Sport
Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr
Assistant Referees: Amber McLachlin & Tyler Miller
TMO: Lee Jeffery
O’REILLY CUP DEFENCE
This will be the 21st Test between the Black Ferns and Australia, with the Black Ferns having won every previous Test between the two sides. They haven’t played for the O’Reilly Cup since 2019. The two Test series holds extra significance for Black Ferns Head Coach Wayne Smith. He said his want to get involved with the Black Ferns started as a tribute to his great mate and mentor, Laurie O’Reilly. Smith said O’Reilly inspired him to be a coach and the significance of playing for the trophy in his name in Christchurch is not lost on the team.
RETURN OF MCMENAMIN
Sitting in a hospital bed last year, Charmaine McMenamin was doubtful she would ever play rugby again. But here she is. Named to start at No 8 for her first Test match since 2019. McMenamin had bone spurs on her spinal cord last year, but a number of surgeries later, she’s loving being back in the Black Ferns. A very different team to the one she was part of a couple of years ago. She said it’s been a massive buzz being back in the environment. She’ll link up with Alana Bremner and Kennedy Simon in the loose forward trio.
SEVENS PLAYERS INJECTED
A couple of Black Ferns Sevens players have been made available for the Christchurch Test. Midfielder Theresa Fitzpatrick returns to the XVs side, while Tyla Nathan-Wong is set to make her debut off the bench. It’s been a teenage dream for the 28 year-old who was first in the Black Ferns environment as a 15 year-old. She was invited to a trail match and was told she couldn’t be picked because she was too young. Nathan-Wong is an established, talented Sevens player and the second highest points scorer in World Rugby Sevens Series history. She’s looking forward to living out her dream on Saturday. Of course, we haven’t forgotten Ruby Tui who’s starting on the right wing, having chosen to dedicate her time to XVs this year.
WORLD CUP WATCH
Wayne Smith, Wes Clarke and Whitney Hansen are still on the hunt for their best squad to defend their Rugby World Cup title in New Zealand in October and November. They want to give as many top players as possible the chance to prove themselves for that all-important World Cup squad. But time is running out, with just two Tests against Australia and potentially one more hit-out before their World Cup opener against Australia on October 8 at Eden Park, players will absolutely need to put their best foot forward over the next two weeks, both in Christchurch and over in Adelaide.
Black Ferns: 1. Pip Love 2. Georgia Ponsonby 3. Tanya Kalounivale 4. Joanah Ngan-Woo 5. Chelsea Bremner 6. Alana Bremner 7. Kennedy Simon (cc) 8. Charmaine McMenamin 9. Kendra Cocksedge 10. Ruahei Demant (cc) 11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga 12. Theresa Fitzpatrick 13. Amy du Plessis 14. Ruby Tui 15. Renee Holmes
Reserves: 16. Luka Connor 17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu* 18. Amy Rule 19. Tafito Lafaele 20. Kendra Reynolds 21. Tyla Nathan-Wong* 22. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’I (Sylvia) Brunt 23. Hazel Tubic
Wallaroos: 1. Bree-Anna Cheatham 2. Ashley Marsters 3. Bridie O’Gorman 4. Michaela Leonard 5. Kaitlan Leaney 6. Emily Chancellor 7. Shannon Parry 8. Grace Kemp 9. Iliseva Batibasaga 10. Arabella McKenzie 11. Ivania Wong 12. Cecilia Smith 13. Georgina Friedrichs 14. Mahalia Murphy 15. Pauline Piliae-Rasabale
Reserves: 16. Adiana Talakai 17. Emily Robinson 18. Asoiva (Eva) Karpani 19. Atasi Lafai 20. Piper Duck 21. Layne Morgan 22. Trilleen Pomare 23. Lori Cramer