Talent aplenty in 2024 contracted Black Ferns group

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This year’s contracted group features five exciting new players following standout performances across Sky Super Rugby Aupiki. Atlanta Lolohea (Matatū), Hannah King (Hurricanes Poua) Kahlia Awa (Blues), Maama Vaipulu (Blues) and Maia Joseph (Matatū) have secured their first full-time Black Ferns contracts.

Blues lock Vaipulu was immense for the Blues during their charge to the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki title. A consistent performer, with a great skill set made a strong impression on Black Ferns selectors.

Shifting north to Wellington to pursue Super Rugby for the season, paid dividends for Hurricanes Poua first five-eighth Hannah King. The 20-year-old thrived in the Hurricanes Poua environment and became a notable standout for the side.

With a dominant performance in the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki final, Blues halfback Awa has made every post a winner in the past 12 months and will be hoping to add to her highlights reel in a black jersey. Alongside Awa, diligent halfback and first five-eighth Joseph, also secures her first contract having been on the radar of Black Ferns selectors for some time. Joseph’s Matatū teammate, hooker Lolohea, is also set to make the step-up.

Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting was impressed with the competitiveness and potential of the five newly contracted players.

“It is exciting to be able to see the growth we have building in our game at the moment. While it makes for a tough selection, it gives us an opportunity to expose more talent to the international stage in specific areas we are looking at moving into the future and towards Rugby World Cup 2025. These new players have really stood out consistently in their own way across Sky Super Rugby Aupiki that has been apparent in the way they hold themselves on and off the field.

“It is an exciting opportunity for them to come on this journey and look to continue their growth both on and off the field. The future of our internal competition is exciting to see.”

While there is a youthful look to the 2024 contracted group, a talented group of experienced players who have already had the privilege of wearing the black jersey also return to the contracted group. Prominent Blues prop Aldora Itunu, newly converted prop Marcelle Parkes (Matatū), illusive loose forward Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Matatū) and powerful midfielder Monica Tagoai (Hurricanes Poua) all return to the Black Ferns environment.

“We are pleased to be able to welcome back these experienced players into our environment. Their perseverance, physical presence and ability to impact games has been evident. They have been standouts for their respective teams during Sky Super Rugby Aupiki and we are excited to see what they bring to environment," said Bunting.

Phillipa Love, Liv McGoverne and Mia Anderson will join the Black Ferns squad on interim contracts as injury cover. One additional full-time contract is still be confirmed.

Black Ferns 2024 Contracted Group:


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