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 Rugby Union News 
Friday, October 07 2022
Black Ferns continue to tinker as World Cup opener awaits

The Black Ferns search for their best team continues, with several tweaks made for their World Cup opener against Australia on Saturday at Eden Park.

Only one player has come into the starting side from their big win over Japan, with Stacey Fluhler starting at centre, however a number of players have had positional changes for Australia.

On the wings, Ruby Tui and Portia Woodman switch sides and will play on the right and left respectively. While Amy du Plessis shifts in one spot to second five-eighth for her first test appearance in the role. In the pack, Charmaine McMenamin (blindside flanker) and Liana Mikaele-Tu'u (No8) trade places.

"We have a lot of players that have the ability to fill starting positions, so we need to give opportunities and see who takes them," Black Ferns director of coaching Wayne Smith said of his selection.

"We've wanted to look at Amy at second five for a while and Stacey comes into centre where she is world class.

"Liana and Charmaine are an exciting combo, Liana is an explosive athlete who is really good in the line out so wanted to see her at eight."

Of the 23-strong squad, 17 Black Ferns will be making their Rugby World Cup debuts.

Saturday's test will be the fourth meeting between the Black Ferns and the Wallaroos this season, with the New Zealand side sweeping the three matches to date. However, their last meeting – a 22-14 win in Adelaide – saw the Australian side cause some problems for the Black Ferns. Smith said it wasn't a performance he was happy with, but put the blame on himself noting he might have tried to change a little too much between the test and their 52-5 win in the match prior.

This weekend will be just the third time the two sides have met at a Rugby World Cup, and the first since 2010. The match headlines an opening-day triple-header, which also features France v South Africa and England v Fiji.

Black Ferns: Renee Holmes, Ruby Tui, Stacey Fluhler, Amy du Plessis, Portia Woodman, Ruahei Demant (c), Kendra Cocksedge, Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, Sarah Hirini, Charmaine McMenamin, Chelsea Bremner, Joanah Ngan-Woo, Amy Rule, Luka Connor, Pip Love.

Reserves: Georgia Ponsonby, Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, Santo Taumata, Maiakawanakaulani Roos, Kendra Reynolds, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Hazel Tubic, Sylvia Brunt.

Unavailable due to injury: Kennedy Simon, Ayesha Leti-I'iga, Tanya Kalounivale, Alana Bremner.


Posted by: AT 03:47 am   |  Permalink   |  Email