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Black Ferns World Cup squad named

The New Zealand women's rugby squad for the World Cup has been named.

The reigning world champions have named an experienced 26-player squad with just one uncapped face as Auckland centre Trish Hina will become a dual international having already represented New Zealand in rugby league.

Black Ferns coach Brian Evans has handed the captaincy to regular skipper Melissa Ruscoe who missed last year's tour of England through injury.

The squad overall has a vastly experienced look to it . This will be the fourth World Cup for Auckland lock Monalisa Codling, while her Auckland locking partner Victoria Heighway, halfback Emma Jensen, hooker Fiaoo Faamausili, and Canterbury loose forward Casey Robertson and her provincial union teammate, utility back Amiria Rule, will be playing in their third World Cup.

Five other players will be attending their second World Cup.

Amiria Rule's inclusion is a big boost to Evans and the squad overall as the versatile outside back had suffered a serious knee injury earlier this year. Her recovery gives Evans a range of options behind the scrum with the Canterbury player at home in the centre and in the back three.

Evans said: We are very pleased with the depth and experience we have been able to select for this squad.

It was great to be able to have a look at a wider group of players at the trial tournament in Hopuhopu earlier in the month and I am confident that we have a strong squad to travel to England, he added.

The Black Ferns will assemble in Auckland from 12-16 July for a training camp ahead of their departure to England on 13 August.

New Zealand will come to London next month wary of the threats they will face in the toughest World Cup pool.

In their group they are due to play the current world 7s champions Australia, a resurgent South Africa team and a wounded Wales team looking to prove that their poor 6 Nations form is not reflective of their overall ability as a squad.

The Black Ferns are always the team to beat at the World Cup, and the talented side from down under have beaten England in the last two World Cup finals and have come out on top in the finals in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Their ability to perform on the highest stage still makes them slight favourites although they will know all too well that their hampered preparation could play into the hands of a brilliantly prepared England side - the team who they are expected to meet in the final.

The Black Ferns come into the competition without an international fixture in nine months.

New Zealand Squad:

Kelly Brazier
Kendra Cocksedge
Monalisa Codling^
Fiao'o Faamausili#
Victoria Grant (nee Blackledge)*
Victoria Heighway#
Trish Hina
Carla Hohepa
Rebecca Hull (nee Mahoney)*
Halie Hurring
Linda Itunu*
Emma Jensen#
Justine Lavea
Huriana Manuel*
Ruth McKay
Mel Ngatai
Karina Penetito
Casey Robertson#
Vita Robinson
Amiria Rule (nee Marsh)#
Melissa Ruscoe, captain*
Aroha Savage
Joan Sione
Doris Taufateau
Steph TeOhaere-Fox
Renee Wickliffe

^ denotes playing in fourth IRB Womens Rugby World Cup (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010)

# denotes playing in third IRB Womens Rugby World Cup (2002, 2006, 2010)

* denotes playing in second IRB Womens Rugby World Cup (2006, 2010)