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Ruby Tui returns to Black Ferns in squad for WXV 1

By Ned Lester
Ruby Tui and the Black Ferns look on with concern following a French try. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

The first edition of the WXV kicks off in Wellington on October 21, concluding two rounds later with the Black Ferns facing their Rugby World Cup final opponents for the first time since that famous win at Eden Park last November.

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Also included in the top tier of the new international tournament are the other two of the top three finishers from both the Six Nations and Pacific Four Series; France, Wales, Australia and Canada.

New Black Ferns coach Allan Bunting enjoyed a winning start to his reign with a dominant Pacific Four Series win and has named a largely similar 30-woman squad for the WXV, with the addition of some outstanding young talent who impressed in the recent Farah Palmer Cup season and the return of global superstar Ruby Tui.

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Auckland’s FPC winning effort on Saturday has seen eight of their squad included in the Black Ferns outfit, contributing half of the team’s four new names: Chryss Viliko and Sophie Fisher.

The other two newcomers are Canterbury’s Martha Mataele and Manawatu’s Layla Sae.

“It has been a very tough selection for our coaching group, which demonstrates the growth in our women’s game and a reflection our depth is certainly building. Our new players have really stood out in several important behaviours we value. All of which we have been looking for in this year’s Farah Palmer Cup,” said Black Ferns Director of Rugby Bunting.

“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.”

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Black ferns squad for the WXV 1

Loosehead Props:
Kate Henwood
Krystal Murray
Chryss Viliko*

Hookers:
Georgia Ponsonby
Luka Connor
Natalie Delamere

Tighthead Props:
Amy Rule
Sophie Fisher*
Tanya Kalounivale

Locks:
Charmaigne Smith
Chelsea Bremner
Maiakawanakaulani Roos

Loose Forwards:
Alana Bremner
Kennedy Simon
Layla Sae*
Liana Mikaele-Tu’u
Lucy Jenkins

Halfbacks:
Ariana Bayler
Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
Iritana Hohaia

First-Five Eighths:
Rosie Kelly
Ruahei Demant

Midfield:
Amy Du Plessis
Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt
Patricia Maliepo

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Outside Backs:
Katelyn Vahaakolo
Martha Mataele*
Mererangi Paul
Renee Holmes
Ruby Tui

* Denotes potential debut

Unavailable for selection due to injury: Ayesha Leti-I’iga (knee), Awhina Tangen Wainohu (neck), Charmaine McMenamin (knee), Santo Taumata (knee).

Also announced was the first Black Ferns XV squad, a team packed with aspiring international talent who will face Manusina XV on September 23rd.

Black Ferns XV Squad

Props:
Ellis Doyle
Esther Faiaoga-Tilo
Moomooga Palu
Marcelle Parkes
Maddi Robinson

Hookers:
Leaso Grace Gago Tiatia
Atlanta Lolohea
Vici-Rose Green

Locks:
Laura Bayfield
Emma Dermody
Sam Taylor
Maama Vaipulu

Loose Forwards:
Mia Anderson
Leah Miles
Elizabeth Moimoi
Holly Wratt-Groeneweg

Halfbacks:
Kahlia Awa
Di Hini

First Five-Eighth:
Maia Joseph

Midfield:
Grace Brooker
Cheyenne Cunnigham
Justine McGregor
Rangimarie Sturmey

Outside Backs:
Lela Ieremia
Harmony Kautai
Angelica Mekemeke Vahai
Tara Turner

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