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Black Ferns set for test rugby return following two-year wait

By Sam Smith
Black Fern Renee Wickliffe scores a try in their 47-10 win over the Wallaroos in 2019. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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After a two-year wait, the Black Ferns will finally get to again take the field for a test match in a two-game series with the Wallaroos this September.

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The O’Reilly Cup will be up for grabs when the Black Ferns host Australia in Christchurch on 26 September before a tantalising double header at Eden Park alongside the All Blacks taking on South Africa on 2 October.

With the World Cup delayed until next year, there were fears the Black Ferns might again face a barren calendar of matches, after playing just two games against the New Zealand Barbarians side last year – a team comprised primarily of players on the cusp of national selection who had just missed the cut.

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Their upcoming two-match series with the Wallaroos, however, will mark just the start of the test calendar, with further games due to be announced in due course.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Head of Women’s Rugby Cate Sexton said it was great to lock in home tests for the Black Ferns ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Playing at home before next year’s World Cup is vital. We are looking forward to hosting Australia and showing the New Zealand public a taste of what they can look forward to in 2022.

“There is a wider group of Black Ferns that have been preparing for international rugby since January, they can’t wait to get back out there in the black jersey to represent their families and provincial unions, but also put their best foot forward for World Cup selection.

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“It will be a wonderful occasion to return to Christchurch for a test before what is sure to be a great series decided at Eden Park in October,” said Sexton.

Rugby Australia’s General Manager of Women’s Rugby Jilly Collins said, “After the conclusion of a successful Buildcorp Super W competition, and the selection of a 40-strong Wallaroos squad, we are delighted to confirm the two-match test Series against the Black Ferns.

“Both matches will be vital in our preparation for the Rugby World Cup next year. The players continue to work hard, and I know are relishing the opportunity to play test match rugby again.”

– with New Zealand Rugby

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Black Ferns set for test rugby return following two-year wait

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