Head Coach Justin Morgan has named two debutantes for 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).
Prop Billie-Jean Ale and Centre Jules Newman will both play their first Test match for New Zealand after standout seasons at the Warriors this year.
Ale has been in the game for 19 years, representing Mt Albert in the Auckland Premiership, Akarana at a provincial level, as well as the Warriors in the inaugural NRLW Premiership.
She was first named in the Kiwi Ferns’ wider squad for the 2008 World Cup but never took the field. In the meantime, she represented Fetu Samoa in 2011 and again in this year’s one-off Test against the Kiwi Ferns in June. Eleven years later, she will finally run out in the Black and White.
Newman was named in the Ferns’ wider test squad earlier in the year and impressed at the World Nines scoring a crucial try in the 17-15 victory over the Jillaroos.
After a standout introductory year to rugby league she will play her first test match for the Kiwi Ferns tomorrow.
Also running on in the centres will be the much-decorated Kiwi Ferns Captain, Honey Hireme-Smiler, who first donned the Kiwi Ferns jersey 17 years ago.
2019 World Nines Women’s player of the tournament, Raecene McGregor will run out in the halves alongside Warriors playmaker Charntay Poko.
Sydney Roosters’ winger Kiana Takairangi, who scored a double on debut for the Ferns in June, will look to carry on her impressive form alongside Sydney teammate and experienced hooker Nita Maynard.
Warriors speedster Atawhai Tupaea makes her return to the Black and White, as well as St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower, Maitua Feterika.
“This is what we have been building towards and I know the girls can’t wait to get out there,” says Morgan.
“The Nines was a good confidence boost but we know what lies ahead. The Jillaroos are a top-quality side and they will bring their best game, but we have the team to rise to the challenge. We are lucky to have a couple of returning faces, determined debutantes and players with years of test match experience. All in all this team is full of passion and pride for their country so I have no doubt this will shape up to be a great test match.”
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 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)