Roos to captain Black Ferns against USA


An exciting selection changes have been made to the twenty-three, with Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting and his assistants demonstrating the depth of talent within the squad.

The team is;
1. Esther Faiaoga-Tilo*
2. Grace Gago*
3. Amy Rule (14)
4. Joanah Ngan-Woo (18)
5. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (16) (Captain)
6. Lucy Jenkins (1)
7. Kendra Reynolds (11)
8. Liana Mikaele-Tu'u (13)
9. Iritana Hohaia (2)
10. Rosie Kelly (2)
11. Grace Steinmetz (1)
12. Grace Brooker (1)
13. Amy du Plessis (9)
14. Kelsey Teneti (2)
15. Tenika Willison (1)

16. Georgia Ponsonby (15)
17. Phillipa Love (26)
18. Tanya Kalounivale (8)
19. Chelsea Bremner (14)
20. Kennedy Simon (15)
21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (14)
22. Ruahei Demant (28)
23. Renee Holmes (12)

*Denotes Black Ferns debut.

Roos will become the youngest player to captain the Black Ferns at the age 21. The in-form Auckland Storm lock has been awarded the captaincy, with Black Ferns Co-Captains Ruahei Demant Kennedy Simon named on the bench to allow for the continued growth of the Black Ferns squad.

Bunting said that Roos has been outstanding leading by example since the commencement of this campaign.

“Throughout my time in the Black Ferns, Maia has been exceptional, a true professional both on and off the field and her presence is widely felt. A key member of our leadership group now, her daily habits and actions transition into consistent performance. She is a good human and is always looking out to help others. We have great confidence in her captaining the Black Ferns on Friday.”

In other changes, Waikato loosehead prop Esther Faiaoga-Tilo and Counties Manukau hooker Grace Gago will start on debut for the Black Ferns, alongside Canterbury tighthead Amy Rule.

Joanah Ngan-Woo returns to join Roos as the starting locking duo. Following an impressive debut Canterbury’s Lucy Jenkins and Bay of Plenty loose forward Kendra Reynolds will start at six and seven respectively, while the formidable Liana Mikaele-Tu'u once again starts at number eight.

In the backs, Taranaki’s Iritana Hohaia and Canterbury’s Rosie Kelly earn their first start at nine and ten respectively. Midfielder Grace Brooker makes her long awaited return to the Black Ferns jersey, starting alongside last weekend’s player of the match Amy du Plessis. A talented back three of Grace Steinmetz, Kelsey Teneti and Tenika Willison will round out the starting fifteen.

“As a team it is important, we continue to build our depth and our game foundations. I’m really proud of the growth in our group and after a tough travel week how our ladies fronted and responded to challenges, there is still a lot we can build on, good things take time.”

“We are looking forward to seeing our new Black Ferns take lead in this Test, we have faith in all our squad, all we expect is effort which I know we will see and always being intentional about enjoying these special moments.”

Bunting commended Faiaoga-Tilo and Gago for their work ethic.

“Esther transitioned to the front row earlier this year and has flourished in the role. While Grace, had a remarkable season for the Blues during Sky Super Rugby Aupiki. Each have continued to grind away, supporting the team through the last two tests, while continuing to learn and develop. Now it’s time to let them loose. It will be a special moment for them both, their whānau and credit for their persistence and drive.”


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