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Black Ferns make one change to their team for the World Cup final

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Hannah Peters/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Wayne Smith has made one injury-enforced change to his Black Ferns team for Saturday’s sold-out World Cup final versus England, Charmaine McMenamin replacing Liana Mikaele-Tu’u at No8 after a thumb injury was sustained in the 25-24 semi-final win over France.

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A statement read: “The Black Ferns team to face England for the Rugby World Cup title has been named. Black Ferns coaches have made just one injury-enforced change to their matchday 23 with 2017 World Cup winner Charmaine McMenamin replacing Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, who sustained a thumb injury in the semi-final victory.

“The team features six players who took part in the 2017 World Cup final against the same opposition, with McMenamin joined by Sarah Hirini, Kendra Cocksedge, Portia Woodman, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Stacey Fluhler in lining up for consecutive finals.”

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Black Ferns director of coaching Smith said: “Throughout this whole campaign selection has been incredibly difficult. We are pretty happy with the continuity in this line-up and only the one change this week. Charmaine comes into the team and she has already had some good minutes on the field during the World Cup and obviously brings that experience from 2017 as well.

“It is going to be a massive challenge. We are playing against possibly one of the greatest teams in the history of rugby, they have won 30 Tests in a row which is remarkable and it’s going to take a huge effort. The support for the team has been amazing but that also brings its own challenges, we have to show that we can cope with those challenges and focus on playing the rugby that we love.”

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This will be the 30th Test between the Blacks Ferns and England, the countries having first met in 1997. The Black Ferns have won 18, drawn one and lost 10. It will also be the fourth time the teams have met in a World Cup final, most recently the Black Ferns coming from behind to win 41-32 in Ireland in 2017.

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There have only been three Tests between the nations since the last World Cup, the Black Ferns winning in San Diego in 2019 – England’s last defeat before going on a 30-match winning streak, including two wins over the Black Ferns last year.

Black Ferns (vs England, Saturday)
1. Phillipa Love (24)
2. Georgia Ponsonby (12)
3. Amy Rule (11)
4. Maiakawanakaukani Roos (13)
5. Chelsea Bremner (11)
6. Alana Bremner (12)
7. Sarah Hirini (16)
8. Charmaine McMenamin (30)
9. Kendra Cocksedge (67)
10. Ruahei Demant (25) – co-captain
11. Portia Woodman (24)
12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (17)
13. Stacey Fluhler (24)
14. Ruby Tui (9)
15. Renee Holmes (9)

Replacements:
16. Luka Connor (13)
17. Krystal Murray (8)
18. Santo Taumata (6)
19. Joanah Ngan-Woo (16)
20 Kennedy Simon (12) – co-captain
21. Ariana Bayler (7)
22. Hazel Tubic (21)
23. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (20)

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