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New Black Ferns captain named in squad full of fresh faces

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Bay of Plenty’s Les Elder has been named as captain for a new look 2019 Black Ferns squad featuring 10 uncapped players announced this evening.

Elder (13), a specialist number 7, made her debut in the black jersey in 2015 and was part of the 2017 World Cup winning squad. Kendra Cocksedge (47) and Selica Winiata (36) have been named as co-vice captains.

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said Elder was a natural leader who had quickly made an impact on the culture of the squad since her debut in 2015.

"On the field Les is uncompromising, and her knowledge of the game is outstanding. Off the field she has the ability to bring players together and bring out the best in them. She is a clear communicator, setting high standards for herself for others to follow.

Moore has included seven new forwards and three backs. Three of the uncapped players have been named in previous squads but are yet to have their start in the black jersey.

The seven new caps are: Karli Faneva (Bay of Plenty), Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty), Forne Burkin (Canterbury), Kennedy Simon (Waikato), Harono Te Iringa (Counties Manukau), Grace Brooker (Canterbury) and Pia Tapsell (North Harbour).

Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington), Kilisitina Moata-ana (Otago) and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Counties Manukau) have all been named in the squad previously and haven't had their debut.

The Black Ferns squad is (Test caps in brackets, new caps in bold).


Eloise Blackwell (37) Auckland

Forne Burkin Canterbury

Luka Connor Bay of Plenty

Les Elder (Captain, 13) Bay of Plenty

Karli Faneva Bay of Plenty

Aldora Itunu (20) Auckland

Phillipa Love (7) Canterbury

Charmaine McMenamin (19) Auckland

Toka Natua (16 )Waikato

Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (29) Auckland

Joanah Ngan-Woo Wellington

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (23) Counties Manukau

Marcelle Parkes (2) Wellington

Leilani Perese (5) Counties Manukau

Kennedy Simon Waikato

Charmaine Smith (21) Auckland

Pia Tapsell North Harbour

Harono Te Iringa Counties Manukau

Cristo Tofa Auckland


Chelsea Alley (18) Waikato

Kelly Brazier (37) Bay of Plenty

Grace Brooker Canterbury

Kendra Cocksedge (Co-Vice Captain, 47) Canterbury

Krysten Cottrell (5) Hawke's Bay

Kiritapu Demant (2) Bay of Plenty

Ruahei Demant (5) Auckland

Theresa Fitzpatrick (9) Auckland

Carla Hohepa (19) Waikato

Ayesha Leti-Iiga (3) Wellington

Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu Counties Manukau

Kilisitina Moata'ane Otago

Natahlia Moors (1) Auckland

Alena Saili (2) Southland

Renee Wickliffe (35) Bay of Plenty

Selica Winiata (Co-Vice Captain, 36) Manawatu

-Not considered due to injury: Monica Tagoai (Wellington) and Jackie Patea-Fereti (Wellington).

Moore said preparation for the Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 in San Diego was well under way and it was a chance for the new players in particular to impress at international level.

"Everyone has a desire to be selected for the 2021 World Cup but we have a job to do first in the US, and it's an opportunity for these players to show what they are capable of.

"The young talent we've seen at recent camps is very encouraging and it's meant selection has been difficult and some very good players have missed out today."

He said the departure of some Black Ferns stalwarts in crucial positions particularly in the forwards meant other players could now stake their claim.

"I’m looking forward to trying new combinations and building more depth in the squad, particularly in key positions, so that in two years’ time we will be spoilt for choice."

Moore and his selectors have included three Black Ferns Sevens players, in Kelly Brazier, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Alena Saili after they made themselves available for consideration with the support of their Sevens coaches.

He said all three players had all previously been part of the Black Ferns 15s programme and were keen to continue to be included if, and when, circumstances allowed.

"We know the priority for the Black Ferns Sevens is the Tokyo Olympics and the players’ welfare is always our top concern. These players are part of our squad and have the blessing of their sevens coaches to join us. We’re thrilled to have them on board."

The Black Ferns international Test season starts next month with the Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019 when they will face USA, Canada, France and England.

Black Ferns 2019 schedule

Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019 in San Diego, USA

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Saturday, 29 June

v Canada

Kickoff: 11am (NZT)

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Wednesday, 3 July


Kickoff: 12.15pm (NZT)

Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center

Sunday, 7 July

v France

Kickoff: 12.15pm (NZT)

San Diego State University’s Torero Stadium

Monday, 15 July

v England

Kickoff: 8am (NZT)

Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy

Optus Stadium, Perth

Saturday 10 August

v Australia (With All Blacks v Australia)

Kickoff: 7pm (NZT)

Eden Park, Auckland

Saturday 17 August

v Australia (With All Blacks v Australia)

Kickoff: 5pm (NZT)

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