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Black Ferns Pacific Four Series squad named

Black Ferns Pacific Four Series squad named

All BlacksMay 1, 2024

Black Ferns coaches Allan Bunting, Steve Jackson, Mike Delany, Tony Christie and Dan Cron have named a 30-strong squad for the Pacific Four Series including three home Tests in Hamilton, Auckland and Christchurch.

The Black Ferns team is (Age/Super Club/Province/Test caps):

Loosehead Props

Kate Henwood (35, Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty, 4)
Chryss Viliko (23, Blues, Auckland, 2)
Marcelle Parkes (26, Matatū, Canterbury, 5)

Hookers

Luka Connor (27, Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty, 20)
Georgia Ponsonby (24, Matatū, Canterbury, 20)
Leaso Grace Gago Tiatia (25, Blues, Counties Manukau, 1)

Tighthead Props

Tanya Kalounivale (25, Chiefs Manawa, Waikato, 11)
Amy Rule (23, Matatū, Canterbury, 19)
Aldora Itunu (32, Blues, Auckland, 24)

Locks

Maiakawanakaulani Roos (22, Blues, Auckland, 21)
Charmaine Smith (33, Chiefs Manawa, Northland, 29)
Maama Vaipulu (21, Blues, Auckland, new cap)
Alana Bremner (27, Matatū, Canterbury, 19)

Loose Forwards

Kennedy Simon (27, Chiefs Manawa, Waikato, 20) (Co-Captain)
Layla Sae (23, Hurricanes Poua, Manawatū, 3)
Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (22, Blues, Auckland, 18)
Kaipo Olsen-Baker (21, Matatū, Manawatū, 2)

Halfbacks

Iritana Hohaia (24, Hurricanes Poua, Taranaki, 6)
Maia Joseph (21, Matatū, Otago, new cap)

First Five-Eighths

Ruahei Demant (29, Blues, Auckland, 33) (Co-Captain)
Hannah King (20, Hurricanes Poua, Canterbury, new cap)

Midfield

Logo i Pulotu Lemapu Atai'i (Sylvia) Brunt (20, Blues, Auckland, 13)
Amy du Plessis (24, Matatū, Canterbury, 14)
Grace Steinmetz (26, Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury, 2)
Monica Tagoai (25, Hurricanes Poua, Wellington, 3)

Outside Backs

Ruby Tui (32, Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau, 13)
Mererangi Paul (25, Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau, 5)
Katelyn Vahaakolo (24, Blues, Auckland, 6)
Patricia Maliepo (21, Blues, Auckland, 7)
Renee Holmes (24, Chiefs Manawa, Waikato, 16)

The countdown is on! ⏰

Grab your tickets now! 👉 https://t.co/LrDOmH5Q8t#LikeABlackFern pic.twitter.com/9gFydjNidG

— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) April 30, 2024

Unavailable for selection: Ayesha Leti-I'iga (knee), Awhina Tangen Wainohu (neck), Joanah Ngan-Woo (ankle), Santo Taumata (knee), Sophie Fisher (neck).

Black Ferns coaches have rewarded Sky Super Rugby Aupiki form with the competition’s top performers named in the first squad of the year, with three players in line for Test debuts.

Stand-out Blues lock Maama Vaipulu will be joined by the exciting young pairing of Matatū halfback Maia Joseph and Hurricanes Poua first five-eighth Hannah King in the squad for the first time. Powerful Blues tighthead prop Aldora Itunu earns her first Black Ferns call up since 2021, while converted Matatū loosehead prop Marcelle Parkes and tenacious Hurricanes Poua midfielder Monica Tagoai return for the first time since 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting said the intense nature of the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki competition has made for a competitive selection process.

“We are hugely excited by the squad we have selected for the Pacific Four series. We have seen these players perform strongly during Sky Super Rugby Aupiki and their selection is credit to their consistent form across the competitive season.

“This series is extremely important for us, not only to provide an opportunity to expose our new players to the international stage, but to seek qualification up for the WXV1 tournament at the end of the year.”

Alan Bunting Black Ferns Director of Rugby

The Black Ferns will open their 2024 season on home soil, when they take on USA at FMG Stadium Waikato, in the first Test of the Pacific Four Series. The Test match will be the first of three, with the remaining two Tests taking place in Christchurch and Auckland, which doubles as the O'Reilly Cup presented by Ryman Healthcare.

“We are looking forward to the upcoming months. To have the opportunity for our whānau and fans to see the team is special. We are excited about the challenge that lies ahead for us, and we feel the support of Aotearoa when they are cheering us on,” said Bunting.

Game day cannot come quick enough! ⏳

We are two weeks away from taking the field against the USA! Grab your tickets now 👉 https://t.co/LrDOmH5Q8t#LikeABlackFern pic.twitter.com/IoDD71l045

— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) April 27, 2024

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