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Black Ferns to finish strong vs Australia

Alana Bremner Black Ferns rugby
Black Fern Alana Bremner is lifted at lineout training prior to the clash with the Wallaroos. PHOTO: NZ RUGBY

The O’Reilly Cup is on the line when the the Black Ferns face Australia and look to come back from their loss last week to Canada.

Experienced players Alana Bremner and Renee Holmes have been named for their final Test of the Pacific Four Series, as the Black Ferns play the Wallaroos at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2.05pm).


Experienced Australian to coach Tall Ferns

Prop Amy Rule earns her first start of the series and combining with Chryss Viliko and Georgia Ponsonby in the front row.

Maia Roos will combine with the experienced Alana Bremner, who is in line to play her 20th Test in the Black Ferns jersey, her first start at lock.

Liana Mikaele-Tu’u will shift back to the blindside making way for Kaipo Olsen-Baker to start at number eight, with loose forward Layla Sae set to make an impact off the bench this weekend.

In the backline, Hurricanes Poua halves combination of Iritana Hohaia and Hannah King earn their first test starts of the season.

The relentless midfield combination of Sylvia Brunt and Amy du Plessis remain, alongside left wing Katelyn Vahaakolo. Mererangi Paul will shift to the right wing, with Renee Holmes named to start at fullback.

Marcelle Parkes makes her Black Ferns return for the first time since 2019, as loosehead prop. Halfback Maia Joseph and Black Ferns co-captain Ruahei Demant are on the bench and midfielder Grace Steinmetz comes into the 23.

Coach Allan Bunting said he was excited to see the growth in this squad.

“We have taken some critical learnings from our game against Canada. This is now our opportunity to move on and take this next challenge against Australia. There is a great rivalry between our two nations, we know Australia are coming off some pain as well and know how well they played at the end of last year.

“We are looking to see change in our mental preparation this week. Alongside this, we have a refreshed starting fifteen, which is growing the depth in our squad, and offers them an opportunity to show their capabilities in what will be another intense battle.”

Bunting congratulated Bremner on he looming milestone.

“Alana lives everything it means to be a Black Fern. She is a constant professional and leads by example. She has worked very diligently the last couple of weeks, and we are looking forward to seeing her play this weekend,” said Bunting.

BLACK FERNS: Renee Holmes, Mererangi Paul, Amy du Plessis, Sylvia Brunt, Katelyn Vahaakolo, Hannah King, Iritana Hohaia, Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Kennedy Simon (co-capt), Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, Alana Bremner, Maia Roos, Amy Rule, Georgia Ponsonby, Chryss Viliko. Reserves: Luka Connor, Marcelle Parkes, Aldora Itunu, Charmaine Smith, Layla Sae, Maia Joseph, Ruahei Demant (co-capt), Grace Steinmetz


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