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Newcomer At Fullback For Black Ferns

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Newcomer At Fullback For Black Ferns

Wellington, Nov 13 NZPA - New Zealand coach Brian Evans has named newcomer Kelly Brazier at fullback in his side to face England in the first women's rugby test in London on Sunday morning (NZT).

Otago 20-year-old Brazier is the only new cap although she is joined by Canterbury's Casey Robertson and vice-captain Amiria Rule (nee Marsh) who both return to the squad having last played when New Zealand beat England to win the 2006 World Cup final.

Evans was pleased with the squad's progress during their truncated buildup to the first of two tests.

"We've been together only one week and have travelled a long way for these tests, but the players are fit, focused and ready to go," Evans said.

"The experience of the more seasoned players, as well as those returning to the team, has been invaluable for the newcomers. This is a pretty special squad."

Victoria Heighway, the most capped Black Fern with 26 caps, will captain the side for the first time after Canterbury's Melissa Ruscoe was ruled out of the tour with concussion.

The team suffered another blow with Ruscoe's replacement, Auckland's Aroha Savage, rupturing her Achilles tendon the day before the team departed on Monday night. Savage will be out of rugby for at least seven months.

Wellington's Aimee Sutorius has joined the team as a replacement for Savage.

The Black Ferns will play England A on Tuesday followed by the second Test against England at Twickenham on November 21.

Team:

Kelly Brazier, Victoria Grant, Huriana Manuel, Amiri Rule, Carla Hohepa, Rebecca Mahoney, Emma Jensen, Casey Robertson, Justine Lavea, Linda Itunu, Victoria Heighway (captain), Kimberly Smith, Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox, Fiao'o Faamausili, Ruth McKay. Reserves: Claire Rowat, Beth Mallard, Vita Robinson, Olivia Coady, Kendra Cocksedge, Renee Wickliffe, Anika Tiplady

 

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