Bay of Plenty's Les Elder has been named as captain for a new look 2019 Black Ferns squad featuring 10 uncapped players.

New Zealand Rugby announced Elder (13), a specialist number 7 who made her debut in the black jersey in 2015 and was part of the 2017 World Cup winning squad, as captain on Tuesday night. Kendra Cocksedge (47) and Selica Winiata (36) have been named as co-vice captains.

Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore said Elder, who is the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's Women's Player Development Manager, was a natural leader who had quickly made an impact on the culture of the squad since her debut in 2015.

"On the field Les is uncompromising, and her knowledge of the game is outstanding. Off the field she has the ability to bring players together and bring out the best in them. She is a clear communicator, setting high standards for herself for others to follow."

Lesley Elder is the new captain of the Black Ferns. Photo / Getty Images
Lesley Elder is the new captain of the Black Ferns. Photo / Getty Images

He has included seven new forwards and three backs. Three of the uncapped players have been named in previous squads but are yet to have their start in the black jersey.

The seven new caps include Bay of Plenty's Karli Faneva and Luka Connor, Forne Burkin (Canterbury), Kennedy Simon (Waikato), Harono Te Iringa (Counties Manukau), Grace Brooker (Canterbury) and Pia Tapsell (North Harbour).

Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington), Kilisitina Moata-ana (Otago) and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Counties Manukau) have all been named in the squad previously and haven't had their debut.

Moore said preparation for the Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 in San Diego was well under way and it was a chance for the new players to impress at international level.

"Everyone has a desire to be selected for the 2021 World Cup but we have a job to do first in the US, and it's an opportunity for these players to show what they are capable of.

"The young talent we've seen at recent camps is very encouraging and it's meant selection has been difficult and some very good players have missed out today."

He said the departure of some Black Ferns stalwarts in crucial positions particularly in the forwards meant other players could now stake their claim.

"I'm looking forward to trying new combinations and building more depth in the squad, particularly in key positions, so that in two years' time we will be spoilt for choice."


Moore and his selectors have included three Black Ferns Sevens players, in Kelly Brazier, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Alena Saili after they made themselves available for consideration with the support of their coaches.

He said all three players had all previously been part of the Black Ferns 15s programme and were keen to continue to be included if, and when, circumstances allowed.

"We know the priority for the Black Ferns Sevens is the Tokyo Olympics and the players' welfare is always our top concern. These players are part of our squad and have the blessing of their sevens coaches to join us. We're thrilled to have them on board."

The Black Ferns international test season starts in June with the Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 when they will face USA, Canada, France and England.

Black Ferns 2019 schedule:
Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 in San Diego, USA
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.
Saturday, June 29.
v Canada.
Kickoff: 11am (NZT).
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.
Wednesday, July 3.
v USA.
Kickoff: 12.15pm (NZT).
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.
Sunday, July 7.
v France.
Kickoff: 12.15pm (NZT).
San Diego State University's Torero Stadium .
Monday, July 15.
v England.
Kickoff: 8am (NZT).
Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy
Optus Stadium, Perth.
Saturday, August 10.
v Australia (With All Blacks v Australia).
Kickoff: 7pm (NZT).
Eden Park, Auckland.
Saturday, August 17.
v Australia (With All Blacks v Australia).
Kickoff: 5pm (NZT).

The Black Ferns squad is (Test caps in brackets):


Eloise Blackwell (37), Auckland; Forne Burkin, Canterbury;

Luka Connor, Bay of Plenty; Les Elder (Captain, 13), Bay of Plenty; Karli Faneva, Bay of Plenty; Aldora Itunu (20), Auckland; Phillipa Love (7), Canterbury; Charmaine McMenamin (19), Auckland; Toka Natua (16), Waikato; Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (29), Auckland; Joanah Ngan-Woo, Wellington; Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (23), Counties Manukau; Marcelle Parkes (2), Wellington; Leilani Perese (5), Counties Manukau; Kennedy Simon, Waikato; Charmaine Smith (21), Auckland; Pia Tapsell, North Harbour; Harono Te Iringa, Counties Manukau; Cristo Tofa, Auckland.


Chelsea Alley (18), Waikato; Kelly Brazier (37), Bay of Plenty; Grace Brooker, Canterbury; Kendra Cocksedge (Co-Vice Captain, 47), Canterbury; Krysten Cottrell (5), Hawke's Bay; Kiritapu Demant (2), Bay of Plenty; Ruahei Demant (5), Auckland.

Theresa Fitzpatrick (9), Auckland; Carla Hohepa (19), Waikato; Ayesha Leti-Iiga (3), Wellington; Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Counties Manukau; Kilisitina Moata'ane, Otago; Natahlia Moors (1), Auckland; Alena Saili (2), Southland; Renee Wickliffe (35), Bay of Plenty; Selica Winiata (co-vice-captain, 36), Manawatu.