Persistence pays off for Black Ferns midfielder

By Jamie Wall

Black Ferns coach Glen Moore, and new caps Kilisitina Moata'ane and Olivia Ward-Duin

Two new caps have been named to make their Black Ferns debut in the first Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy match against Australia on Saturday in Perth.

North Harbour prop Olivia Ward-Duin and Otago midfielder Kilisitina Moata’ane are set to make their Test debut from the reserves at Optus Stadium.

It’s a case of third time lucky for Moata’ane. She has been tantalising close to donning the black jersey twice before, only to suffer a late injury and be ruled out. In 2018 she was selected for the Northern Tour side but was injured at the pre-departure camp. She was also injured prior to the Women’s Rugby Super Series earlier this season.

Coach Glen Moore said: “Kilisitina has faced some challenging setbacks but she’s also been very clear about her dream to be a Black Fern. She’s done the work and it’s paid off. We’re looking forward to watching her take the field on Saturday so she can demonstrate her talents.”

Tighthead prop Ward-Duin, was included in the recent Women’s Rugby 2019 Super Series in San Diego Black Ferns squad but was yet to take the field.

Moore said Ward-Duin had been a standout for her North Harbour Hibiscus side and brought size and power to the Black Ferns scrum.

Black Ferns side to play Australia, Saturday 7pm (NZT), Optus Stadium (test caps in brackets, * = new cap):

1.Toka Natua (20)

2.Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (28)

3.Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (33)

4.Eloise Blackwell (41)

5.Charmaine Smith (25)

6.Pia Tapsell (4)

7.Les Elder (Captain, 16)

8.Charmaine McMenamin (22)

9.Kendra Cocksedge (Vice captain, 51)

10.Ruahei Demant (9)

11.Ayesha Leti-I'iga (7)

12.Chelsea Alley (22)

13.Carla Hohepa (22)

14.Renee Wickliffe (39)

15.Selica Winiata (Vice captain, 38)

Bench:

16.Forne Burkin (1)

17.Leilani Perese (9)

18.Olivia Ward-Duin*

19.Joanah Ngan-Woo (2)

20.Kennedy Simon (2)

21.Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (4)

22.Krysten Cottrell (6)

23.Kilisitina Moata'ane*