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Black Ferns bring back big guns for quarter-final clash

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Hannah Peters - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Black Ferns coaches have named a powerful match day 23 for their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales, with the return of co-captain Kennedy Simon from injury.


Simon will make her World Cup debut off the bench, while Stacey Fluhler, Ruby Tui and Portia Woodman all return to the starting backline.

The teams go head to head at the Northland Events Centre, Whang?rei on Saturday night at 7.30pm.

Going into the quarter-final there is only one change to the starting forward pack with Chelsea Bremner joining up with Maiakawanakaulani Roos in the second row.

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Co-Captain Ruahei Demant returns to the starting line-up at first five-eighths, connecting with Kendra Cocksedge at halfback, while Theresa Fitzpatrick and Stacey Fluhler combine in the midfield for the first time this season.

A powerful back three of Ayesha Leti-I’iga, Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui round out the exciting starting line-up.

The Black Ferns met Wales in week two of the Rugby World Cup, securing a 56-12 victory at Waitakere Stadium.

Assistant Coach Wesley Clarke said the team is thankful to face another northern hemisphere opponent in the quarter-finals.


“We are going to get some mauls and some good scrums; where they really challenged us last time, so that is a good thing.

“There was a lot of stuff in our last game that wasn’t up to our standards so that is what we have been focusing on this week,” said Clarke.

Black Ferns v Wales previous results (all played at World Cups)

1991: Black Ferns 24 – Wales 6
2010: Black Ferns 41 – Wales 8
2014: Black Ferns 63 – Wales 7
2017: Black Ferns 44 – Wales 12
2022: Black Ferns 56 – Wales 12

Black Ferns team to face Wales:


1. Phillipa Love (22)
2. Georgia Ponsonby (10)
3. Amy Rule (9)
4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (11)
5. Chelsea Bremner (9)
6. Alana Bremner (10)
7. Sarah Hirini (14)
8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (9)
9. Kendra Cocksedge (65)
10. Ruahei Demant (24)
11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (18)
12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (15)
13. Stacey Fluhler (22)
14. Portia Woodman (22)
15. Ruby Tui (7)


16. Luka Connor (11)
17. Krystal Murray (6)
18. Santo Taumata (4)
19. Joanah Ngan-Woo (14)
20. Kennedy Simon (10)
21. Ariana Bayler (6)
22. Hazel Tubic (20)
23. Renee Holmes (7)

-Press Release/NZR



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Jon 1 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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