Three Bay of Plenty women will be expected to make an impact off the bench when the Black Ferns Development XV take on Papua New Guinea tomorrow.

Luckily, making an impact is something the powerful trio of Luka Connor, Kendra Reynolds and Angel Mulu excel at.

Black Ferns Development head coach Wayne Maxwell has rotated his squad for their third match of the 2019 Oceania Rugby Women's Championship at Churchill Park in Fiji.

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Grace Brooker will captain the side at fullback, with usual skipper and Counties Manukau halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu being rested. Canterbury's Melanie Puckett will start at halfback, pairing with Wellington's Amanda Rasch at first five - who has also made the move from reserves.

Auckland's Saphire Abraham was named as hooker alongside Eilis Doyle from Otago at loosehead prop, and both have made the starting 15 for the first time after impressing off the reserves bench.

The development side has two wins from two matches beating Fiji in their opening match 53-0, and Australia A 50-0 last week.

Maxwell said he felt his side's defence had ratcheted up a notch against Australia A.

"I was particularly proud of our defensive effort in the last quarter. Australia had us on our goal line, continually attacking, but we managed to make sure they came away with no points.

Bay of Plenty's Angel Mulu is tackled by Australia's Averyl Mitchell during the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship Series. Photo / Getty Images
Bay of Plenty's Angel Mulu is tackled by Australia's Averyl Mitchell during the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship Series. Photo / Getty Images

"We will be looking to repeat that level of play against Papua New Guinea. So far this tour we've seen some outstanding talent emerge. Some of them have played a full 80 minutes in really hot conditions. They have stepped up and stood out.

"This week our plan is to give some of the players who have had fewer minutes more game time and the opportunity to show us what they can do. We've recovered well in a short space of time and we're ready to finish this tournament the same way we started," he said.

Premium gold

It is the first time a Black Ferns Development XV side has taken part in the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship which includes Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Australia A.


The Black Ferns and Australia have qualified for 2021 Rugby World Cup and will play in pool matches only.

Black Ferns Development team to play Papua New Guinea
1. Eilis Doyle (Otago)
2. Saphire Abraham (Auckland)
3. Leilani Perese (Counties Manukau)
4. Chelsea Bremner (Canterbury)
5. Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington)
6. Alana Bremner (Canterbury)
7. Kennedy Simon (Waikato)
8. Pia Tapsell (North Harbour)
9. Melanie Puckett (Canterbury)
10. Amanda Rasch (Wellington)
11. Natahlia Moors (Auckland)
12. Martha Lolohea (Canterbury)
13. Kilisitina Moata'ane (Otago)
14. Langi Veainu (Counties Manukau)
15. Grace Brooker - Captain (Canterbury)
16. Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty)
17. Angel Mulu (Bay of Plenty)
18. Amy Rule (Canterbury)
19. Ilisapeta Molia (Counties Manukau)
20. Kendra Reynolds (Bay of Plenty)
21. Rosie Kelly (Otago)
22. Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau)
23. Lauren Balsillie (Manawatu)

2019 Oceania Rugby Women's Rugby Championship

Monday, November 18
Black Ferns 53-0 Fiji

Friday, November 22
Black Ferns 50-0 Australia A

Tuesday, November 26
1.30pm: Black Ferns v Papua New Guinea