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Black Ferns name two debutants for Pacific Four Series clash against Canada

(Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images)

Two players are in line for a Black Ferns debut this weekend as New Zealand host Canada in the second week of the Pacific Four Series at Trusts Arena in Waitakere on Sunday.

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Involved in the Black Ferns domestic series against the Barbarians in 2020, centre Amy du Plessis has been named to play her first international test.

18-year-old Auckland midfielder Sylvia Brunt, meanwhile, is poised to debut from the bench following a quick rise to the top through some powerful performances in the Farah Palmer Cup.

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Changes in the backline see Hazel Tubic earn her first start a first-five, with captain Ruahei Demant moving out to second-five.

Demant replaces Chelsea Semple who was not available for selection due to illness, while Du Plessis replaces Kelsey Teneti who has returned to the Black Ferns Sevens programme.

After powerful performances off the bench last weekend, Luka Connor, Tanya Kalounivale, Joanah Ngan-Woo and Tafito Lafaele are all promoted to the starting pack.

Black Ferns director of rugby Wayne Smith said the changes this week are in line with ensuring all players in the 32-strong squad have the opportunity to impress.

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“We’ve selected players that we think are up to the level required at international rugby so we are making sure they get the opportunity on the field to prove that,” Smith said.

“This series is all about players showing what they can do and putting their best foot forward for when it comes time for Rugby World Cup selection.”

Trailing 5-10 at half time against Australia, the Black Ferns bounced back with a strong second half performance, Smith said they expect another tough encounter against Canada.

“Canada looked physical against the USA, they were explosive and we know they’ve had players added to their team this week from the English Premiership.

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“It will certainly be another tough match, but that is where you learn and that’s exactly what we want.”

Kick-off for Sunday’s match in Auckland is scheduled for 2:45pm.

Black Ferns team to play Canada

1. Phillipa Love
2. Luka Connor
3. Tanya Kalounivale
4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos
5. Joanah Ngan-Woo
6. Alana Bremner
7. Tafito Lafaele
8. Kaipo Olsen-Baker
9. Kendra Cocksedge
10. Hazel Tubic
11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga
12. Ruahei Demant – captain
13. Amy du Plessis*
14. Ruby Tui
15. Cheyelle Robins-Reti

Reserves:

16. Georgia Ponsonby
17. Angel Mulu
18. Amy Rule
19. Chelsea Bremner
20. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u/Kendra Reynolds
21. Ariana Bayler/Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
22. Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt*
23. Renee Wickliffe

– additional reporting with New Zealand Rugby

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Flankly 2 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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