Source: Charles McQuillan - World Rugby via Getty Images

Black Ferns up the intensity ahead of second Test

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The Black Ferns team to face England in the second of two Tests, at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton this Sunday (kick off 2.45pm GMT, 3.45am Monday NZT), has been named.

The team is;

1. Pip Love (12)
2. Grace Houpapa-Barrett (1)
3. Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (36)
4. Joanah Ngan-Woo (3)
5. Kelsie Wills (1)
6. Alana Bremner (1)
7. Les Elder – captain (19)
8. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (1)
9. Kendra Cocksedge (54)
10. Ruahei Demant (12)
11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga (10)
12. Grace Brooker (2)
13. Stacey Fluhler (17)
14. Portia Woodman (16)
15. Cheyelle Robins-Reti (debut)

16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (30)
17. Aldora Itunu (21)
18. Amy Rule (debut)
19. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (debut)
20. Kennedy Simon (5)
21. Ariana Bayler (1)
22. Patricia Maliepo (1)
23. Carla Hohepa (25)

Head Coach Glenn Moore has made six changes to the starting line up and promoted three debutants, with Cheyelle Robins-Reti making her Test debut in the fullback jersey and Amy Rule and Maia Roos in line for their first cap off the bench.

After last week’s result, Moore said there had been a notable shift in intensity this week.

“We were rusty. We were put under the pump at the line out and that limited the platform we had to work off so a lot of effort has gone into that this week. Also, the breakdown is an area we usually pride ourselves on and that was rusty too so there has been some honest conversations around how we need to improve,” said Moore.

Olympic gold medallist Portia Woodman makes her return for the Black Ferns on the wing alongside one of last week’s stand out performers Ayesha Leti-I’iga.

“We took a cautious approach with Portia last week, this week she comes into the starting backline. Alongside Ayesha who as outstanding on Sunday and Chey who has a massive work rate and good support play, we’ll be looking to get the ball to them.”

Grace Houpapa-Barrett is promoted off the bench after a strong showing in her debut last weekend, while Grace Brooker earns her first start, joining Stacey Fluhler in the midfield.

Wellington’s Joanah Ngan-Woo is brought into the starting line up and pairs with Kelsie Wills at lock, while 25-Test veteran Carla Hohepa come onto the bench.

Liana Mikaele-Tu’u is also brought into start at number 8 for the injured Dhys Faleafaga.

“Liana is a talented athlete, she is strong and a powerful ball runner so we want to get her into the game.”

Key Facts

– This will be the 29th Test between the Black Ferns and England, the Black Ferns have won 18, drawn 1 and lost nine.
– Les Elder plays her 20th Black Ferns Test
– Halfback Kendra Cocksedge will be playing her 47th consecutive Test.
– Portia Woodman will play her first Test since the 2017 Rugby World Cup Final. Since that time she has won a World Cup Sevens, Commonwealth Games and Olympic gold medals with the Black Ferns Sevens and returned from a long injury lay off which saw her miss almost 18 months of rugby.

Black Ferns End of Year Tour (times listed in local time)
Sunday 31 October, 2.30pm
Black Ferns 12 v England 43
Sandy Park, Exeter

Sunday 7 November, 2.45pm
Black Ferns v England
Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton

Saturday 13 November, 3pm
Black Ferns v France
Stade de Hameau, Pau

Saturday 20 November, 3pm
Black Ferns v France
Stade Pierre-Fabre, Castres

With thanks to New Zealand Rugby