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Five newcomers announced among 2024 Black Ferns contracts

By Ned Lester
Maama Vaipulu of the Blues with ball in hand. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Form has been rewarded for five players following the biggest Super Rugby Aupiki season to date, with Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting suitably impressed by the several youngsters who took the 2024 season by storm.


Atlanta Lolohea (Matatu), Hannah King (Hurricanes Poua) Kahlia Awa (Blues), Maama Vaipulu (Blues) and Maia Joseph (Matatu) have all been rewarded for their respective Aupiki campaigns with their first full-time Black Ferns contracts.

The 40-strong group of contracted players for 2024 features a huge contingent of 2021 (played in 2022) World Cup winners, offering plenty of experience for the newcomers to tap into.

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Bunting said the newbies had huge potential in key positions.

“It is exciting to be able to see the growth we are building in our game at the moment. While it makes for a tough selection, it gives us an opportunity to expose more talent to the international stage in specific areas we are looking at moving into the future and towards Rugby World Cup 2025.

“These new players have really stood out consistently in their own way across Sky Super Rugby Aupiki, that has been apparent in the way they hold themselves on and off the field.

“It is an exciting opportunity for them to come on this journey and look to continue their growth both on and off the field. The future of our internal competition is exciting to see.”

Along with the five new players, four players return to the Black Ferns environment having already donned the black jersey; Prop Aldora Itunu (Blues), newly converted prop Marcelle Parkes (Matatu), illusive loose forward Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Matatu) and powerful midfielder Monica Tagoai (Hurricanes Poua).


“We are pleased to be able to welcome back these experienced players into our environment,” Bunting said. “Their perseverance, physical presence and ability to impact games has been evident. They have been standouts for their respective teams during Sky Super Rugby Aupiki and we are excited to see what they bring to the environment.”


Black Ferns 2024 contracted group

Alana Bremner (Matatu, Canterbury)
Aldora Itunu (Blues, Auckland)
Amy du Plessis (Matatu, Canterbury)
Amy Rule (Matatu, Canterbury)
Ariana Bayler (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)
Atlanta Lolohea (Matatu, Canterbury)
Ayesha Leti-I’iga (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington)
Awhi Tangen-Wainohu (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)
Charmaine Smith (Chiefs Manawa, Northland)
Chelsea Bremner (Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury)
Chryss Viliko (Blues, Auckland)
Georgia Ponsonby (Matatu, Canterbury)
Grace Steinmetz (Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury)
Hannah King (Hurricanes Poua, Canterbury)
Iritana Hohaia (Hurricanes Poua, Taranaki)
Joanah Ngan Woo (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington)
Kahlia Awa (Blues, Hawke’s Bay)
Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Matat?, Manawat?)
Kate Henwood (Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Katelyn Vahaakolo (Blues, Auckland)
Kennedy Simon (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)
Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (Blues, Auckland)
Layla Sae (Hurricanes Poua, Manawat?)
Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt (Blues, Auckland)
Lucy Jenkins (Matatu, Canterbury)
Luka Connor (Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Leaso Grace Gago Tiatia (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Maama Vaipulu (Blues, Auckland)
Maia Joseph (Matat?, Otago)
Maiakawanakaulani Roos (Blues, Auckland)
Marcelle Parkes (Matatu, Canterbury)
Mererangi Paul (Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau)
Monica Tagoai (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington)
Patricia Maliepo (Blues, Auckland)
Renee Holmes (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)
Ruahei Demant (Blues, Auckland)
Ruby Tui (Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau)
Santo Taumata (Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Sophie Fisher (Blues, Auckland)
Tanya Kalounivale (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)

Injury cover: Phillipa Love, Liv McGoverne and Mia Anderson.





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Abe 2 hours ago
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