The Black Ferns squad for June’s home test series when they play Canada, Australia and England has been named, and it includes two newcomers.
Captained once again by Fiao'o Fa'amausili, the squad contains two new faces in Theresa Fitzpatrick and Rebecca Wood.
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.”
Of the newcomers 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. Those 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)
BLACK FERNS: Eloise Blackwell, Rawinia Everitt, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (c), Sarah Goss, Aldora Itunu, Linda Itunu, Lesley Ketu, Justine Lavea, Pip Love, Charmaine McMenamin, Toka Natua, Aleisha Nelson, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Aroha Savage, Angelene Sisifa, Charmaine Smith, Sosoli Talawadua, Rebecca Wood, Chelsea Alley, Kelly Brazier, Kendra Cocksedge, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Honey Hireme, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, Kristina Sue, Hazel Tubic, Janna Vaughan, Stacey Waaka, Renee Wickliffe, Selica Winiata, Portia Woodman.
2017 International Women's Rugby Series
Friday, 9 June - Wellington
Black Ferns v Canada, Westpac Stadium (followed by Hurricanes v Chiefs)
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 (followed by Maori All Blacks v British and Irish Lions)
Australia v Canada, Smallbone Park