Black Ferns make sweeping changes for Wales
Black Ferns coaches have made a raft of changes ahead of their second Rugby World Cup fixture against Wales at Waitakere Stadium this Sunday.
With wholesale changes to the starting line-up, five further players will make their Rugby World Cup debut on Sunday.
A new look front row sees Awhina Tangen-Wainohu with her first start in the black jersey and Tanya Kalounivale returning from injury, while hooker Georgia Ponsonby is promoted after playing from the bench last weekend.
Auckland midfielders Theresa Fitzpatrick and Sylvia Brunt combine at second five-eighths and centre, while Renee Wickliffe gets a start on the wing in her fourth World Cup campaign, with Ruby Tui donning the fullback jersey for the first time.
Krystal Murray will make her Rugby World Cup debut off the bench.
Black Ferns Director of Rugby Wayne Smith said while the squad is still carrying some injuries, they are happy with the strength of the team.
“We are balancing a desire to keep as much continuity as possible but we want to give players the opportunity to put their form out on the park. So we are putting in a lot of work around who plays when,” said Smith.
After a monumental opening weekend, Smith said their is a focus this week on embracing the occasion.
“We need to use this whole occasion to make us better. We’re in our own country, marching behind our flag, it is the greatest time in our life. We need to use that to our advantage.
After the opening round of Rugby World Cup matches, the Black Ferns sit atop Pool A with five competition points, followed by Wales who claimed a late victory over Scotland last Sunday.
The Black Ferns have previously met Wales on four occasions, most recently a 44-12 win at the 2017 Rugby World Cup. The sides did play in a friendly last October before the Black Ferns Northern Tour in England.
Black Ferns team to play Wales:
1. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (3)
2. Georgia Ponsonby (8)
3. Tanya Kalounivale (4)
4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (9)
5. Chelsea Bremner (7)
6. Alana Bremner (8)
7. Kendra Reynolds (7)
8. Charmaine McMenamin (29)
9. Ariana Bayler (5)
10 .Ruahei Demant (22) – captain
11. Portia Woodman (21)
12. Theresa Fitzpatrick (13)
13. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt (5)
14. Renee Wickliffe (45)
15. Ruby Tui (6)
Unavailable due to injury: Ayesha Leti-I’iga and Kennedy Simon
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