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Powerful prop returns as Black Ferns name team for Canada clash

By Finn Morton
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 28: New Zealand sings their national anthem 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)

Powerful prop Aldora Itunu is set to represent New Zealand at Test level for the first time since 2021 on Sunday when the Black Ferns take on Canada in a decisive Pacific Four Series clash.

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Following on from their dominant win over the United States last weekend, the Black Ferns have only made one change to their starting side after an injury to front-rower Kate Henwood.

Loosehead prop Chryss Viliko is set to start for the Black Ferns for the first time when the Kiwis take the field a Christchurch’s Apollo Projects Stadium, while Itunu will come off the bench.

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Itunu, who started for eventual champions the Blues in the Super Rugby Aupiki decider in April, will earn her 25th cap with the Black Ferns if she’s called on to provide impact off the pine.

“Aldora’s perseverance, determination and physical presence has been evident since returning to or environment,” Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting said in a statement.

“She is a special human and has a lot to give this jersey both on and off the field.

“We know the impact she will make and look forward to her taking the field once again in the Black Ferns jersey.”

With Itunu being named as a replacement, the starting front row consists of Chryss Viliko, Georgia Ponsonby and Tanya Kalounivale. Maiakawanakaulani Roos and Maama Mo’onia Vaipulu round out the rest of the tight five as the two locks.

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Layla See will take her place on the blindside flanker, while New Zealand’s co-captain Kennedy Simon will line up on the other side of the scrum. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u is the other backrower.

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One-Test Black Fern Maia Joseph joins co-captain Ruahei Demant in the halves, while Sylvia Brunt and Amy du Plessis will combine as an always-dangerous midfield duo.

Katelyn Vahaakolo joins Ruby Tui and Mererangi Paul as the three outside backs to take on eh Canadians.

“Our ladies delivered some special moments like weekend against USA,” Bunting added. “We were able to see quite a bit of growth in what we have been working through. We want to continue to build on this again this weekend.

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“Canada presents a quality challenge we need on our journey into (the) World Cup. As a coaching group we want to continue to se growth in certain areas of our game.”

The Black Ferns’ blockbuster clash with Canada in Christchurch is set to get underway at 4:35 pm NZT on Sunday.

Black Ferns to take on Canada

  1. Chryss Viliko
  2. Georgia Ponsonby
  3. Tanya Kalounivale
  4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos
  5. Maama Mo’onia Vaipulu
  6. Layla Sae
  7. Kennedy Simon (cc)
  8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u
  9. Maia Joseph
  10. Ruahei Demant (cc)
  11. Katelyn Vahaakolo
  12. Logo-i-Pulotu Lemapu-Atai’I (Sylvia) Brunt
  13. Amy du Plessis
  14. Ruby Tui
  15. Mereerangi Paul

Replacements

  1. Luke Connor
  2. Amy Rule
  3. Aldora Itunu
  4. Charmaine Smith
  5. Kaipo Olsen-Baker
  6. Iritana Hohaia
  7. Hannah King
  8. Patricia Maliepo
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Comments

1 Comment
B
Barry 36 days ago

Wallaroos have no chance of beating the Black Ferns unless Canada upsets them in Christchurch tomorrow but I doubt that as well!

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