The Black Ferns squad for June’s International Women’s Rugby Series has been named, and it includes two newcomers.
The Black Ferns take on Canada, Australia and England in the home series in the lead-up to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland in August.
Black Ferns squad for International Women’s Rugby Series:
Eloise Blackwell - Auckland
Rawinia Everitt - Counties Manukau
Fiao'o Faamausili (c) - Auckland
Sarah Goss - Manawatu
Aldora Itunu - Auckland
Linda Itunu - Auckland
Lesley Ketu - Waikato
Justine Lavea - Counties Manukau
Pip Love - Canterbury
Charmaine McMenamin - Auckland
Toka Natua - Waikato
Aleisha Nelson - Auckland
Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate - Counties Manukau
Aroha Savage - Counties Manukau
Angelene Sisifa - Otago
Charmaine Smith - North Harbour
Sosoli Talawadua - Waikato
Rebecca Wood - North Harbour
Chelsea Alley - Waikato
Kelly Brazier - Bay of Plenty
Kendra Cocksedge - Canterbury
Theresa Fitzpatrick - Auckland
Honey Hireme - Waikato
Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali - Counties Manukau
Kristina Sue - Manawatu
Hazel Tubic - Counties Manukau
Janna Vaughan - Manawatu
Stacey Waaka - Waikato
Renee Wickliffe - Counties Manukau
Selica Winiata - Manawatu
Portia Woodman - Counties Manukau
Coach Glenn Moore said the majority of the players named today were likely to form the Women’s Rugby World Cup squad.
“While the World Cup is the pinnacle event we have three very important home Tests. Players are very excited about it and the home Tests are an opportunity for us to try some of the things against the same opposition we will face at World Cup, without showing too much.”
Rebecca Wood (North Harbour) and Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland) have been named in the squad for the first time.
Moore said Fitzpatrick brought huge talent and was able to play at both 12 and 13.
“She’s got some pace and some real skills and attributes around those positions. She’s a strong defender and she thoroughly deserves her selection.”
Moore said he’d been impressed with Wood’s depth of character and resilience as well as her skill.
“Becky is a firefighter and she has a lot of courage. She was someone we had on our radar last year. She’s fairly new to the game, but leading up to this her talent and character really stood out.”
“There’s a lot of character here and a lot of people here with really good work ethic and a desire to do well.
“We have had a vision for how we want to play the game, and for the last couple of years we have been progressively building that. We’re looking to advance year-on-year and I think we’ve made good strides there.”
The wider World Cup training squad includes a further seven players who will continue to train in regional hubs.
The seven players are: Charlene Gubb (Auckland), Jessie Hansen (Christchurch), Carla Hohepa (Waikato), Emma Jensen (Auckland), Aotearoa Mata'u (Counties Manukau), Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland), and Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox (Canterbury).
2017 International Women's Rugby Series
Friday, 9 June - Wellington
Black Ferns v Canada, Westpac Stadium
Australia v England, Porirua Park
Tuesday, 13 June - Christchurch
Black Ferns v Australia, Rugby Park
Canada v England, Rugby Park
Saturday, 17 June - Rotorua
Black Ferns v England, Rotorua International Stadium
Australia v Canada, Smallbone Park