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Black Ferns find reinforcements for O'Reilly Cup squad

By Ned Lester
The Black Ferns warm up pregame. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The Black Ferns have named some reinforcements in their squad for the O’Reilly Cup sequel on July 14 in Brisbane.

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The team ran home to a 67-19 win over their Australian rivals in the opening Cup fixture back on May 25 on Auckland’s North Shore, and are well-placed to make it a clean sweep across the ditch.

An ankle injury to co-captain Kennedy Simon places a dent in the squad, but the return to health of Lucy Jenkins helps buffer that. World Cup-winning look Chelsea Bremner also returns to lend some more experience to the side, as does prop Phillipa Love.

Atlanta Lolohea and Mia Anderson have been named and will seek their first run for the team, with the latter profiting from the absence of Simon.

“We wanted to see consistency within our squad to prepare to face Australia, but also wanted to ensure those who missed out on the Pacific Four Series had their opportunity to put their best foot forward,” Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting said.

“We have a few injuries, but we have a competitive group of w?hine who are eager to step up and take ownership of the chance they are given.

“We know that Australia will be continuing to adapt and improve with their new coaching group. We expect they will be well supported by their wh?nau and fans to deliver a strong performance in Brisbane. We are excited for that challenge and provides us with another Test to prepare ahead of our England Test and WXV1 tournament.”

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Black Ferns O’Reilly Cup squad

Loosehead Props
Aldora Itunu (32, Blues, Auckland, 26)
Chryss Viliko (23, Blues, Auckland, 5)
Phillipa Love (34, Matat?, Canterbury, 27)

Hookers
Atlanta Lolohea (21, Matat?, Canterbury, new cap)
Georgia Ponsonby (24, Matat?, Canterbury, 23)
Luka Connor (27, Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty, 23)

Tighthead props
Amy Rule (23, Matat?, Canterbury, 22)
Tanya Kalounivale (25, Chiefs Manawa, Waikato, 13)

Locks
Alana Bremner (27, Matat?, Canterbury, 20)
Chelsea Bremner (29, Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury, 18)
Maama Mo’onia Vaipulu (21, Blues, Auckland, 2)
Maiakawanakaulani Roos (22, Blues, Auckland, 24)

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Loose Forwards
Kaipo Olsen-Baker (22, Matat?, Manawat?, 5)
Layla Sae (23, Hurricanes Poua, 6)
Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (22, Blues, Auckland, 21)
Lucy Jenkins (23, Matat?, Canterbury, 6)
Mia Anderson (22, Chiefs Manawa, Waikato, new cap)

Halfbacks
Iritana Hohaia (24, Hurricanes Poua, Taranaki, 9)
Maia Joseph (22, Matat?, Otago, 3)

First Five-Eighths
Hannah King (20, Hurricanes Poua, Canterbury, 2)
Ruahei Demant (29, Blues, Auckland, 36)

Midfield
Amy du Plessis (24, Matat?, Canterbury, 17)
Grace Steinmetz (26, Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury, 3)
Logo-i-Pulotu Lemapu-Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt (20, Blues, Auckland, 16)
Monica Tagoai (25, Hurricanes Poua, Wellington, 2)

Outside backs
Katelyn Vahakoolo (24, Blues, Auckland, 9)
Mererangi Paul (25, Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau, 8)
Patricia Maliepo (21, Blues, Auckland, 9)
Renee Holmes (24, Chiefs Manawa, Waikato, 17)
Ruby Tui (32, Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau, 15)

Unavailable for selection: Awhina Tangen Wainohu (neck), Charmaine Smith (back), Grace Leaso Gago (neck), Kate Henwood (shoulder), Kennedy Simon (ankle), Marcelle Parkes (knee), Santo Taumata (knee), Sophie Fisher (neck).

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f
finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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