Following the Kiwi Ferns’ spectacular Rugby League World Cup 9s victory over the Jillaroos, head coach Justin Morgan has named a largely unchanged squad ahead of the much-anticipated Test match against the Jillaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Friday, October 25 (5.40pm kick-off local time; 7.40pm NZT).
Returning Kiwi Ferns veteran and St George Illawarra Dragons second rower Maitua Feterika comes into the fold due to the in-doubt Aieshaleigh Smalley, who picked up an ankle injury at the nines.
Warriors hooker Kanyon Paul has also been named after her standout debut performance over the weekend after she replaced the unavailable Lavinia Gould.
Powerhouse props Annetta Nuuausala (Warriors) and Amber-Paris Hall (Brisbane Broncos) will be hungry to take the field after supporting from the sideline throughout the weekend’s tournament.
Also determined to be involved will be Warriors forward Billy-Jean Ale and centre Jules Newman. Ale was named in the Kiwi Ferns’ wider squad back in 2008 but has yet to take the field in the black and white although she represented Fetu Samoa in 2011 and again in this year’s one-off Test against the Kiwi Ferns in June.
Warriors centre Jules Newman was named in the Ferns’ wider Test squad earlier in the year and will be eager to make her Test debut against the Jillaroos after a strong performance at the World Cup 9s.
“We are coming off a high after the Nines victory but know the biggest challenge is still ahead,” says Morgan.
“The Jillaroos will come out firing but so will we. We are really lucky to have a team of this calibre who will be up for the challenge. This is a new week and the intensity has lifted, everyone is eager to get back out there.”
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NEW ZEALAND KIWI FERNS | AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND TEST
1 APII NICHOLLS (Warriors)
2 KIANA TAKAIRANGI (Roosters)
3 HONEY HIREME-SMILER (c) (Warriors)
4 JULES NEWMAN (Warriors)
5 ATAWHAI TUPAEA (Warriors)
6 CHARNTAY POKO (Warriors)
7 RAECENE McGREGOR (Broncos)
8 ANNETTA-CLAUDIA NUUAUSALA (Warriors)
9 KRYSTAL ROTA (Warriors)
10 AMBER-PARIS HALL (Broncos)
11 ONJEURLINA LEIATAUA (Warriors)
12 CRYSTAL TAMARUA (Warriors)
13 GEORGIA HALE (Warriors)
14 NITA MAYNARD (Roosters)
15 TEUILA FOTU-MOALA (Dragons)
16 BILLY-JEAN ALE (Warriors)
17 MAITUA FETERIKA (Dragons)
18 MADISON BARTLETT (Warriors)
19 KANYON PAUL (Warriors)
20 AIESHALEIGH SMALLEY (Warriors)