The Black Ferns' build-up for the 2021 Rugby World Cup has begun, with eight test matches scheduled for 2020, including seven at home.

Although five stand-alone matches have yet to have opposition or venues confirmed, the Black Ferns will be part of three double-headers, with two matches against Australia in August ahead of Bledisloe Cup tests, while the Ferns will also play USA in Dunedin in July, before the All Blacks' test against Scotland.

New Zealand Rugby's head of women's rugby Cate Sexton said the eight-test schedule was unprecedented for Black Ferns fans in New Zealand, and gave them a taste of what to expect in 2021.

"This is a special year for local fans because in the past most Black Ferns tests have been played overseas.


"We've seen a massive groundswell of support for the team from around New Zealand in recent times, and this year fans have more opportunities than ever before to cheer on the Black Ferns in person."

The Black Ferns also announced their contracted squad for 2020, with Saphire Abraham, Kelsie Wills, Chelsea Bremner, Patricia Maliepo and Langi Veainu named for the first time, while Hazel Tubic returns after a stint playing in Japan.

"Every year the standard of rugby, not just here but around the world, is growing and we need to be ahead of the game," said Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore.

"In the past couple of years we've widened our player pool, introduced new athletes to the Black Ferns environment, and given them test match exposure. In 2021, we will be able to draw on a stronger, experienced and match-fit group of players.

"This is a crunch year for us. We need constant high-level competition to ensure the team is in top form for next year. An eight-test match schedule, more regular training camps, and the added bonus of playing in front of family and friends is massive."

Black Ferns squad

Saphire Abraham, Eloise Blackwell, Charmaine McMenamin, Charmaine Smith, Aleisha-Pearl, Luka Connor, Kelsie Wills, Chelsea Bremner, Phillipa Love, Leilani Perese, Pia Tapsell, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Toka Natua, Kennedy Simon, Marcelle Parkes, Jackie Patea-Fereti, Ruahei Demant, Patricia Maliepo, Natahlia Moors, Renee Wickliffe, Grace Brooker, Kendra Cocksedge, Hazel Tubic, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Langi Veainu, Selica Winiata, Kilisitina Moata'ane, Chelsea Alley, Carla Hohepa, Ayesha Leti-I'iga, Monica Tagoai.