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Black Ferns name familiar lineup to play England in WXV1 blockbuster

By Finn Morton
New Zealand perform a haka during the WXV1 match between New Zealand Black Ferns and Wales at Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

The Black Ferns have gone with consistency ahead of their Rugby World Cup final rematch against England. Selectors have made just one change to their starting side ahead of a blockbuster WXV1 clash against the Red Roses in Auckland this weekend.

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Loose forward Alana Bremner will start at blindside flanker while two-Test Black Fern Layla Sae shifts to the bench in the No. 19 jumper.

The rest of the New Zealand side remains unchanged following their emphatic 70-7 demolition of Wales at Forsyth Barr Stadium last Saturday.

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“We are exceptionally proud of our wahine and their work ethic across this campaign. Last weekend as coaches it was fulfilling seeing our team adjust the way we wanted to play, and our wahine unleashed what we know is us,” Director of Rugby Allan Bunting said in a statement.

“We have a group of talented wahine who can go another level. Selection is always tough, continuity this week is important around our selection. Everyone is doing an amazing job at preparing the team that will take the field.

“We know England will be an awesome challenge for our group at this stage of our journey. England women’s rugby is in its sixth year of being professional and it shows how they play together as a whole and thrive off their set piece. We are looking forward to this contest and a great opportunity to test our depth.”

Prop Kate Henwood will pack down alongside experienced duo Georgia Ponsonby and Amy Rule in a formidable front row, while locks Maiakawanakaulani Roos and Chelsea Bremner round out the tight five.

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Along with Alana Bremner in the No. 6 jersey, co-captain Kennedy Simon and backrower Liana Mikaele-Tu’u make up the loose forward trio.

Head-to-Head

Last 4 Meetings

Wins
3
Draws
0
Wins
1
Average Points scored
41
18
First try wins
75%
Home team wins
100%

Halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu will link up with world-class fly-half Ruahei Demant in the halves. Outside of the playmaking pair, Sulvia Brunt and Amy du Plessis will take their places in the midfield.

Four-Test wing Mererangi Paul, New Zealand rugby icon Ruby Tui, and fullback Renee Holmes are the starting outside backs.

The Black Ferns beat England in last year’s Rugby World Cup decider at Eden Park. This is the first time they’ve played each other since.

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“Across WXV1, whether it has been in Wellington, Dunedin or Auckland we have felt the support and hospitality from all we have had the privilege of meeting,” Bunting added.

“To play at home in front of our whanau and fans is very special. We look forward to seeing our Black Ferns Fans out in force again this weekend.”

Black Ferns team to take on England

  1. Kate Henwood (3)
  2. Georgia Ponsonby (19)
  3. Amy Rule (18)
  4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (20)
  5. Chelsea Bremner (17)
  6. Alana Bremner (18)
  7. Kennedy Simon (19) (Co-Captain)
  8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (17)
  9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (18)
  10. Ruahei Demant (32) (Co-Captain)
  11. Mererangi Paul (4)
  12. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt (12)
  13. Amy du Plessis (13)
  14. Ruby Tui (12)
  15. Renee Holmes (15)

Replacements:
16. Luka Connor (19)
17. Krystal Murray (13)
18. Sophie Fisher (1)
19. Layla Sae (2)
20. Lucy Jenkins (5)
21. Iritana Hohaia (5)
22. Patricia Maliepo (6)
23. Katelyn Vahaakolo (5)

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