Sevens stars named in Black Ferns lineup

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Sevens players Sarah Hirini and Portia Woodman have been named in the Black Ferns lineup to take on Japan at Eden Park on Saturday.

Sarah Hirini
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hirini and Woodman played for the Black Ferns Sevens side that finished second at this month’s World Cup Sevens tournament in South Africa.

Auckland first five Ruahei Demant will lead the side for their first ever game against Japan.

Hirini has been named to start alongside the returning Liana Mikaele-Tu’u and Charmaine McMenamin in the loose forwards, while Woodman combines with her Olympic gold medal winning teammate Ruby Tui on the wings.

Stacey Fluhler also returns to the bench, having played on the Northern Tour in 2021, this will be her first Test match this season.

Five members of the Farah Palmer Cup winning Canterbury side are in the starting line-up, including prop Pip Love who will run out in her 20th Test.

Of the Black Ferns Sevens players, Wayne Smith said it was good having them part of the squad.

“They are world class athletes; hugely professional in terms of their preparation and they came in knowing all the plays so I’m confident they’ve done the homework and they deserve an opportunity.”

It will be the first time the Black Ferns have faced Japan, who preparing for their fifth World Cup appearance.

“We wanted to play them. We’ve seen them play a couple of times this year, they beat Australia, they are quick and are going to be a different challenge for us which is important.

“This weekend we want to see a progression from where we have been. We didn’t play very well in Adelaide so now it’s a matter of getting better at what we are good at,” said Smith.

Unavailable due to injury: Alana Bremner, Tanya Kalounivale, Krystal Murray, Kennedy Simon

The Black Ferns will face Australia in their first Rugby World Cup fixture at Eden Park on 8 October.

The team is;

1. Pip Love (19)

2. Luka Connor (8)

3. Amy Rule (6)

4. Joanah Ngan Woo (10)

5. Chelsea Bremner (5)

6. Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (6)

7. Sarah Hirini (10)

8. Charmaine McMenamin (27)

9. Kendra Cocksedge (61)

10. Ruahei Demant (20) – Captain

11. Ruby Tui (4)

12.Theresa Fitzpatrick (12)

13. Amy du Plessis (3)

14. Portia Woodman (19)

15. Renee Holmes (4)

16. Georgia Ponsonby (6)

17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (1)

18. Santo Taumata (1)

19. Maiakawanakaulani Roos (7)

20. Kendra Reynolds (5)

21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (9)

22. Stacey Fluhler (20)

23. Hazel Tubic (16)

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