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Two weeks after going to head-to-head in Townsville the Australian Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns will meet again to round out the inaugural Women’s Pacific Championships.
It was the Jillaroos who came out on top in Week 1 with debutant Tamika Upton showing her class on the international stage to get the green and gold home 16-10 in a thrilling battle at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
The Ferns were straight back on the training paddock last week and looked to have built on their combinations, with halfback Raecene McGregor and centres Abigail Roache and Mele Hufanga sparking a 28-10 win over Mate Ma’a Tonga on Saturday.
After losing to their arch-rivals by 50 points in last year’s World Cup Final, Ricky Henry’s side will have taken plenty of heart from the six-point loss in Townsville and will be desperate to get their first win over the Jillaroos since 2016.
Meanwhile, Brad Donald’s Jillaroos will head to Melbourne well-rested and well-prepared to face the Ferns after a weekend off.
Donald fields a similar side to the that got the job done against the Ferns a fortnight ago and the Aussies will be buoyed by the inclusion of debutant Jakiya Whitfeld, who stole the show with four tries at the Australian Prime Ministers XIII’s clash last month.
Kiwi Ferns: Co-captain Shanice Parker is set to play her third different position in as many weeks after being named on the wing, following stints at centre and fullback against the Jillaroos and Mate Ma’a Tonga respectively. Her move is triggered by the return of Raiders flyer Apii Nicholls at fullback, with Cheyelle Robins-Reti the player to make way. The forward pack is unchanged from last week’s win over Tonga, while on the bench Ash Quinlan replaces Capri Paekau and Jasmine Fogavini comes in for the injured Amelia Pasikala.
Jillaroos: Wests Tigers star Jakiya Whitfeld will make her Test debut in place of Julia Robinson (personal reasons). Lauren Brown is the new hooker with Keeley Davis going to the reserves. Cowboys hooker Emma Manzelmann makes her international debut off the bench while Yasmin Clydsdale has also been added to the interchange with Caitlan Johnston out due to injury.
Kiwis v Kangaroos – Saturday 28th October 8:00pm AAMI Park Melbourne
Available to watch on Sky Sport
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