Capping ceremony honours former Black Ferns

By D'Angelo Martin

Thirty-one Black Ferns were capped at an official ceremony last night, including Fiao'o Faamausili who received her 50th cap. She is the most capped Black Fern ever with 57.  

Last night's ceremony at Eden Park in Auckland was part of a collective of ceremonies that will be held throughout the year to recognise the legacy of these former Black Fern players. 

Former Black Fern captain, Farrah Palmer says, "It's a really wonderful occasion. Last year was our first capping ceremony and we acknowledged the 1998 players. This year we're just kind of acknowledging those who've come after that."

The capping ceremonies recognise the contributions women have made to the success of rugby in this country.

"It's all about trying to make our culture more inclusive and giving value to women playing rugby, as well as the men," says Palmer. "So, this was an idea raised a couple of years ago, why don't we cap the Black Ferns?"

Among those who received their cap was Fiao'o Faamasauli, who has played 57 tests. 

Palmer says, "Look, she is a rangatira, she is a legend. She was a reserve when I was playing and I knew she was really good and I knew she was going to go far. She's just gone above of what I expected in terms of the longevity but also what she's contributed to the Black Ferns."

The current Black Fern team is in a training camp in Palmerston North in preparation for the Women's Rugby Series in a couple of months. Head Coach Glenn Moore will be looking to name his squad next week.

"It's an interesting time for the Black Ferns because they've lost those ones who used to be the rocks of the team," says Palmer. "So, there's going to be a bit of new blood but it always takes time for a team to get used to each other."

But she predicts the team will still shine, "Because of the strong rugby culture that we have here in Aotearoa, they will still do well".

Last night was a night filled with happiness and more so for those who received their long-awaited caps.

The next capping ceremony for the Black Ferns will be on 19 May in Christchurch.