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New contracted Black Ferns players named

Updated: Apr 23

The new group of Black Ferns has been named
Black Ferns contracted group. Back row: Marcelle Parkes, Liv McGoverne (interim contract), Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Hannah King, Maia Joseph, Mia Anderson (interim contract). Front row: Monica Tagoai, Kahlia Awa, Maama Vaipulu, Atlana Lolohea. Not photographed: Aldora Itunu. PHOTO: NZR/RACHAEL WHAREAITU

The Black Ferns programme is continuing to build toward the 2025 Women's Rugby World Cup with the naming of five new players to the contracted squad.


Atlanta Lolohea (Matatū), Hannah King (Hurricanes Poua) Kahlia Awa (Blues), Maama Vaipulu (Blues) and Maia Joseph (Matatū) have secured their first full-time Black Ferns contracts. 


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Blues lock Vaipulu had a big season for the Blues during their charge to the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki title. A consistent performer, with askill set made a strong impression on Black Ferns selectors. 


Shifting north to Wellington to pursue Super Rugby Aupiki paid dividends for Hurricanes Poua first-five Hannah King. The 20-year-old thrived in the Poua environment and became a notable standout for the side. 


With a dominant performance in the Super Rugby Aupiki final, Blues halfback Awa has made every post a winner in the past 12 months and will be hoping to add a black jersey.


Alongside Awa, diligent halfback and first-five Joseph, also secures her first contract having been on the radar of Black Ferns selectors for some time. Joseph’s Matatū teammate, hooker Lolohea, is also set to make the step-up. 


Black Ferns director of rugby Allan Bunting was impressed with the competitiveness and potential of the five newly contracted players. 


“It is exciting to be able to see the growth we have building in our game at the moment. While it makes for a tough selection, it gives us an opportunity to expose more talent to the international stage in specific areas we are looking at moving into the future and towards Rugby World Cup 2025.



"These new players have really stood out consistently in their own way across Super Rugby Aupiki that has been apparent in the way they hold themselves on and off the field.


“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.” 


Returnees to a contract include Blues prop Aldora Itunu, newly converted prop Marcelle Parkes (Matatū), illusive loose forward Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Matatū) and powerful midfielder Monica Tagoai (Hurricanes Poua) all return to the Black Ferns environment.


“We are pleased to be able to welcome back these experienced players into our environment. Their perseverance, physical presence and ability to impact games has been evident. They have been standouts for their respective teams during Sky Super Rugby Aupiki and we are excited to see what they bring to environment," said Bunting.


Phillipa Love, Liv McGoverne and Mia Anderson will join the Black Ferns squad on interim contracts as injury cover. One additional full-time contract is still be confirmed.


BLACK FERNS 2024 CONTRACTED PLAYERS 


Alana Bremner (Matatū, Canterbury), Aldora Itunu (Blues, Auckland), Amy du Plessis (Matatū, Canterbury), Amy Rule (Matatū, Canterbury), Ariana Bayler (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato), Atlanta Lolohea (Matatū, Canterbury), Ayesha Leti-I’iga (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington), Awhi Tangen-Wainohu (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato), Charmaine Smith (Chiefs Manawa, Northland), Chelsea Bremner (Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury), Chryss Viliko (Blues, Auckland), Georgia Ponsonby (Matatū, Canterbury), Grace Steinmetz (Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury), Hannah King (Hurricanes Poua, Canterbury), Iritana Hohaia (Hurricanes Poua, Taranaki), Joanah Ngan Woo (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington), Kahlia Awa (Blues, Hawke’s Bay), Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Matatū, Manawatū), Kate Henwood (Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty), Katelyn Vahaakolo (Blues, Auckland), Kennedy Simon (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato), Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (Blues, Auckland), Layla Sae (Hurricanes Poua, Manawatū), Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai'i (Sylvia) Brunt (Blues, Auckland), Lucy Jenkins (Matatū, Canterbury), Luka Connor (Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty), Leaso Grace Gago Tiatia (Blues, Counties Manukau), Maama Vaipulu (Blues, Auckland), Maia Joseph (Matatū, Otago), Maiakawanakaulani Roos (Blues, Auckland), Marcelle Parkes (Matatū, Canterbury), Mererangi Paul (Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau), Monica Tagoai (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington), Patricia Maliepo (Blues, Auckland), Renee Holmes (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato), Ruahei Demant (Blues, Auckland), Ruby Tui (Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau), Santo Taumata (Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty), Sophie Fisher (Blues, Auckland), Tanya Kalounivale (Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)


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