Kiwi Ferns Coach Tony Benson has named his side for New Zealand’s first Women’s Rugby League World Cup game against Canada tomorrow at 1.45pm (AEDT).

In what will be her fifth Rugby League World Cup, Laura Mariu will captain the Kiwi Ferns when they run out at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Sydney tomorrow afternoon. Experienced veterans Sharlene Atai and Honey Hireme will start in the second row and left wing positions respectively.

Nicholls-Pualau will make her international debut starting at fullback with Australian-based and Gisborne-born Nita Maynard set to make her debut off the bench.

“To play in that black jersey is the highest honour and I’m so privileged to be named in the starting line-up,”

“I know I’ve got my work cut out for me but I’m ready to get out there and give it my all,” Nicholls-Pualau says.

For Maynard, being one of the first Australian-based Kiwis to pull on the Kiwi Ferns jersey is a dream come true.

“Raecene and I were lucky enough to get the opportunity to trial and when we both got the call up into that final Kiwi Ferns World Cup squad the feeling was indescribable,”

“It makes it even more special that I’ll be playing my first international Test at my home stadium where I play with the Cronulla Sharks,” she said.

Coach Tony Benson says he is happy with the blend of youth and experience in his team to take on Canada.

“I’m excited that we can finally put all the hard work and sacrifices to good use on the field and I’m confident in the team that will run out tomorrow,” he says.


Kiwi Ferns v Canada
November 16, 1.45pm (AEDT)
Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney

1- Apii Nicholls-Pualau*
2- Atawhai Tupaea
3- Maitua Feterika
4- Shontelle Woodman
5- Honey Hireme
6- Georgia Hale (Vice Captain)
7- Kimiora Nati
8- Lilieta Maumau
9- Krystal Rota
10- Bunty Kuruwaka-Crowe
11- Sharlene Atai
12- Teuila Fotu-Moala
13- Laura Mariu (Captain)
14- Nita Maynard*
15- Krystal Murray
16- Ngatokotoru Arakua
17- Amber Kani
18- Louisa Gago
19- Kahurangi Peters

*International debut