Winger Mele Hufanga has been called up to make her New Zealand Test debut against the Cook Islands on Sunday (5.00pm local time; Monday, 6.00am NZT) at the LNER Community Stadium in York.

A rugby union convert, Hufanga represented the Blues Super Rugby team this year and earned her spot in the Kiwi Ferns World Cup squad following an impressive rugby league season with the Ponsonby Ponies.

Also in head coach Ricky Henry’s 17-strong team, Laishon Albert-Jones has been brought into the halves alongside Raecene McGregor.

In the forwards, Sydney Rooster’s Otesa Pule gets a starting spot in second row, while Charlotte Scanlan starts at lock.

Crystal Tamarua and Christyl Stowers were named to come off the bench.


NZ Kiwi Ferns team v Cook Islands by squad number and position:

1 | Apii Nicholls (Fullback)

24 | Mele Hufanga (Wing)

21 | Shanice Parker (Centre)

4 | Page McGregor (Centre)

5 | Madison Bartlett (Wing)

6 | Laishon Albert-Jones (Five Eighth)

7 | Raecene McGregor (Halfback)

8 | Mya Hill-Moana (Prop)

9 | Krystal Rota (Hooker)

10 | Annetta Claudia-Nu’uausala (Prop)

18 | Otesa Pule (Second Row)

12 | Amber-Paris Hall (Second Row)

16 | Charlotte Scanlan (Loose Forward)

14 | Nita Maynard (Interchange)

23 | Brianna Clark (Interchange)

20 | Crystal Tamarua (Interchange)

17 | Christyl Stowers (Interchange)

19 | Hailee-Jay Ormond-Maunsell (18th Woman)

22 | Karli Hansen (19th Woman)