Rugby: Black Ferns touring squad named

Aldora Itunu on the attack. Photo / Photosport
Aldora Itunu on the attack. Photo / Photosport

The Black Ferns have named a 27-strong squad for their three-test, hit and run tour of the UK and Ireland.

The squad is stacked with experience - a total 284 caps - with Counties Manukau's Sharnita Woodman the only uncapped player on tour.

Prop Sosoli Talawadua and first five Kiri Demant are the only new names to be added to the squad since the 2-0 series win against Australia last month.

The squad will look to continue the success of their two test wins over Australia, when they play England in London, and Canada, then Ireland, in Dublin.

The Black Ferns have assembled in Auckland today ahead of their departure to the UK tomorrow evening.

Head coach Glenn Moore said the series against Australia had allowed the coaching team to give new players a go and to try combinations of players.

"We had a quick turnaround for the lead-up to the series and the team came together quickly. We face the same challenge in preparing for this series and the key for us will be how quickly we can adjust and settle into our offshore routine.

"Touring is always an exciting opportunity for players. It's a chance for us to see how players cope with the unique pressures of touring, and playing against nations that are clearly enjoying their rugby at the moment.

"We know that playing against the black jersey brings out the best in our opposition, but we know that these players are up for that challenge."

"Making the Black Ferns squad for the Women's Rugby World Cup next year is everyone's goal, so getting some game time against some tough opposition will be hugely valuable.

There is no doubt England, Canada and Ireland will be fired up - it's going to be a fantastic few weeks of women's rugby," he said.

From the squad that played against Australia, Sarah Goss is now into the sevens environment, where she is captain, and prop Pip Love and first five Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali are both injured.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili is a nominee, at 36, for the World Rugby women's player of the year awards, to be decided Monday minoring (NZT).

Black Ferns squad to tour UK and Ireland:
Backs: Chelsea Alley (North Harbour), Kelly Brazier (Otago), Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Kiri Demant (Auckland), Honey Hireme (Waikato), Carla Hohepa (Waikato), Kristine Sue (Manawatu), Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau), Janna Vaughan (Manawatu), Renee Wickliffe (Counties Manukau), Selica Winiata (Manawatu), Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)
Forwards: Eloise Blackwell (Auckland), Rawinia Everitt (Auckland), Fiao'o Fa'amausili (Auckland, c), Charlene Gubb (Auckland), Aldora Itunu (Auckland), Aotearoa Matau (Counties Manukau), Charmaine McNemamin (Auckland), Toka Natua (Waikato), Aleisha Nelson (Auckland), Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (Counties Manukau), Aroha Savage (Counties Manukau), Angie Sisifa (Otago), Charmaine Smith (North Harbour), Sosoli Talawadua (Waikato), Sharnita Woodman (Counties Manukau)

Saturday November 19
Black Ferns v England, The Stoop, Twickenham, London
Wednesday November 23
Black Ferns v Canada, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin
Sunday November 27
Black Ferns v Ireland, The Bowl, UCD, Dublin

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