North Harbour prop Olivia Ward-Duin and Otago midfielder Kilisitina Moata’ane are set to make their Test debut from the reserves at Optus Stadium.
It’s a case of third time lucky for Moata’ane. She has been tantalising close to donning the black jersey twice before, only to suffer a late injury and be ruled out. In 2018 she was selected for the Northern Tour side but was injured at the pre-departure camp. Earlier this year history repeated itself prior to the Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019.
Moore said Moata’ane’s ability to work her way back into contention for selection was testament to her determination and resilience.
“Kilisitina has faced some challenging setbacks but she’s also been very clear about her dream to be a Black Fern. She’s done the work and it’s paid off. We’re looking forward to watching her take the field on Saturday so she can demonstrate her talents.”
Tight head prop, Ward-Duin, was included in the recent Women’s Rugby 2019 Super Series in San Diego Black Ferns squad but was yet to take the field.
Moore said Ward-Duin had been a standout for her North Harbour Hibiscus side and brought size and power to the Black Ferns scrum.
“Olivia’s gained a lot from being in our environment in San Diego. She was called into the squad on the back of an injury of another player and has really improved. She’s tall and very strong. We believe with more experience she will become a world class player.”
The Black Ferns have had a two-week break since the San Diego series in the lead-up to the series against Australia. Moore said the players had recovered well and were excited to be back training together.
“The Laurie O’Reilly is the equivalent of the Bledisloe Cup for us so it means a lot. We don’t see ourselves as defending it. We need to win it again. The players are all working hard to challenge selection and represent their country.
“There’s a lot of anticipation around these double headers with the All Blacks and it will be special to play in Perth’s new stadium. It’s a sell out and we expect there’ll be quite a few Kiwis cheering us on. We’re looking forward to getting out there on Saturday,” he said.
The team is (Number of caps in brackets, * denotes debut):
|1.||Toka Natua (20)|
|2.||Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (28)|
|3.||Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (33)|
|4.||Eloise Blackwell (41)|
|5.||Charmaine Smith (25)|
|6.||Pia Tapsell (4)|
|7.||Les Elder (Captain, 16)|
|8.||Charmaine McMenamin (22)|
|9.||Kendra Cocksedge (Vice captain, 51)|
|10.||Ruahei Demant (9)|
|11.||Ayesha Leti-I’iga (7)|
|12.||Chelsea Alley (22)|
|13.||Carla Hohepa (22)|
|14.||Renee Wickliffe (39)|
|15.||Selica Winiata (Vice captain, 38)|
|16.||Forne Burkin (1)|
|17.||Leilani Perese (9)|
|19.||Joanah Ngan-Woo (2)|
|20.||Kennedy Simon (2)|
|21.||Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (4)|
|22.||Krysten Cottrell (6)|