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Ruby Tui absent as Black Ferns name team for final Pacific Four Series clash

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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The Black Ferns will be without star wing Ruby Tui for their final Pacific Four Series match against the United States this weekend.

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Tui is one of three players who have been listed as unavailable for selection, with the 30-year-old – who scored a brace in New Zealand’s 28-0 drubbing of Canada in Auckland last weekend – ruled out due to sevens commitments.

The other two players who weren’t considered for selection were halfback Ariana Bayler and No 8 Kaipo Olsen-Baker, both of whom have been ruled out with injury.

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While Bayler hasn’t featured at all throughout the Pacific Four Series, Tui and Olsen-Baker started in New Zealand’s wins over Australia and Canada over the past fortnight.

Both players have been replaced in the starting lineup by Renee Wickliffe and Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, respectively, as the Black Ferns look to close out an unbeaten series with victory over the USA in Whangarei on Saturday.

In his pursuit for a win against the Americans, Black Ferns director of rugby Wayne Smith has named two debutants for this weekend’s test.

Uncapped hooker Natalie Delamare has been given a starting role ahead of last week’s incumbent Luka Connor, while uncapped prop Lucy Anderson has been included on the bench at the expense of Amy Rule.

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Smith has also made a raft of other changes to his match day squad, bringing the likes of Leilani Perese, Chelsea Bremner, Kendra Reynolds, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Sylvia Brunt and Renee Holmes into the starting lineup.

On the bench, Krystal Murray, Maiakawanakaulani Roos, Tafito Lafaele, Kendra Cocksedge, Chelsea Semple and Hazel Tubic are the new faces, with Roos, Lafaele, Cocksedge and Tubic demoted from the starting side.

“To have genuine competition for spots has got to be good. We have 11 debutants and they’ve all played really well when they’ve had their opportunity,” Smith said in a statement released on Friday.

“For Nat and Lucy, it will rely on the rest of the team how good their debut is, they can’t go out and really shine unless the others go out and shine; I’m pretty sure they will.

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“We need to focus on getting our stuff right. Everyone can see the sort of game we are trying to play and it’s starting to come together.

“Clearly USA will be a good challenge for us, and we will need to be spot on to meet that challenge. We need to make sure we are getting all the detail right and can’t let winning become the enemy.”

Kick-off at Semenoff Stadium is scheduled for 4pm

Black Ferns side to play the USA

1. Phillipa Love
2. Natalie Delamare*
3. Leilani Perese
4. Joanah Ngan Woo
5. Chelsea Bremner
6. Alana Bremner
7. Kendra Reynolds
8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u
9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
10. Ruahei Demant
11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga
12. Sylvia Brunt
13. Amy du Plessis
14. Renee Wickliffe
15. Renee Holmes

Reserves

16. Georgia Ponsonby
17. Krystal Murray
18. Lucy Anderson*
19. Maiakawanakaulani Roos
20. Tafito Lafaele
21. Kendra Cocksedge
22. Chelsea Semple
23. Hazel Tubic

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