PREVIEW: Black Ferns v Wallaroos (Perth)

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Match details: Wallaroos v Black Ferns, 7pm Saturday 10 August, Optus Stadium, Perth. 

Black Ferns Head coach Glenn Moore has only made one change to his starting side that defeated England at the Super Series in San Diego last month. Selica Winiata will start at fullback ahead of Kelly Brazier who is unavailable due to Sevens commitments. Renee Wickliffe will play her 40th Test against Australia. She brought up 100 Test points in the Super Series, having scored a hattrick in the match against England. Two players are also set to make their Black Ferns debuts off the bench. North Harbour prop Olivia Ward-Duin has been named in the 23. She gets her chance after missing selection during the tour to America, while Otago winger Kilisitina Moata’ane is also set to don the black jersey for the first time. 

The Wallaroos have lost 17-straight Tests to the Black Ferns, but they believe they have the team to break the drought in 2019. Australian captain Grace Hamilton was quoted this week saying her side have never been better prepared to get their first win over New Zealand. She believes that with a busier Test schedule, they are in the perfect position to cause an upset in Perth on Saturday. Hamilton said they have spent a lot more time together as a group and they are constantly building and improving. The Wallaroos recently completed a two-Test series sweep over Japan. 
Glenn Moore compared the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy to the Bledisloe Cup. He said the Black Ferns don’t see themselves as defending it, but instead they need to win it again. Moore knows there will be a lot of anticipation around the double header with the All Blacks and he said it will be special to play in Perth’s new stadium. On the two debutants, Olivia Ward-Duin and Kilisitina Moata’ane, Moore said it’s been an exciting week for the pair. Moata’ane has missed out on making her Test debut several times due to injury but Moore has seen the hard word she’s put in to get back to where she is now. Ward-Duin had a standout season for the North Harbour Hibiscus last year in the Farah Palmer Cup and Moore said she gained a lot from being in the Black Ferns environment in San Diego. Moore believes that with more experience she will become a world class player. 

The Wallaroos have named Kiwi-born prop Liz Patu to start at loosehead. Earlier this year, Patu served a six-week ban for biting an opponent in a Super W clash. Expect to see a great battle up front with experienced Black Ferns tighthead Aleisha-Pearl Nelson. 

Wallaroos: 1 Liz Patu, 2 Averyl Mitchell, 3 Evelyn Horomia, 4 Michaela Leonard, 5 Alisha Hewett, 6 Millie Boyle (vice-Captain), 7 Emily Chancellor, 8 Grace Hamilton (Captain), 9 Georgia Cormick, 10 Trilleen Pomare, 11 Lori Cramer, 12 Ariana Hira Herangi, 13 Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, 14 Samantha Treherne, 15 Mahalia Murphy. 
RESERVES: 16 Ash Marsters, 17 Emily Robinson, 18 Christina Sekona, 19 Rebecca Clough, 20 Shannon Mato, 21 Iliseva Batibasaga, 22 Arabella McKenzie, 23 Mhicca Carter.

Black Ferns: (Test caps in brackets) 1 Toka Natua (20), 2 Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (28), 3 Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (33), 4 Eloise Blackwell (41), 5 Charmaine Smith (25), 6 Pia Tapsell (4), 7 Les Elder (Captain, 16), 8 Charmaine McMenamin (22), 9 Kendra Cocksedge (vice-Captain, 51), 10 Ruahei Demant (9), 11 Ayesha Leti-I’iga (7), 12 Chelsea Alley (22), 13 Carla Hohepa (22), 14 Renee Wickliffe (39), 15 Selica Winiata (vice-Captain, 38). RESERVES: 16 Forne Burkin (1), 17 Leilani Perese (9), 18 Olivia Ward-Duin*, 19 Joanah Ngan-Woo (2), 20 Kennedy Simon (2), 21 Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (4), 22 Krysten Cottrell (6), 23 Kilisitina Moata’ane*

* Test debut


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