Australia-based players included in Kiwi Ferns team for first time as 24-strong squad named for World Cup

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NZN

The Kiwi Ferns have named their squad for the Women's Rugby League World Cup, including Australian-based players for the first time.

Former New Zealand captain Honey Hireme fends off a would-be Australian defender.

Source: Photosport

New Zealand coach Tony Benson has selected a 24-strong squad for next month's tournament, to be held in southern Sydney and Brisbane.

The final will be held in Brisbane on December 2, before the men's final.

Benson's Kiwi Ferns - who won the tournament in 2000, 2005 and 2008 but lost the final to Australia in 2013 - will convene in mid-November.

He said they'd been working hard for months in preparation, and had been able to call upon Australian-based Kiwis for the tournament.

A number of Kiwi-eligible players living in Australia had travelled to New Zealand to trial with the side before Benson's announcement on Friday.

They were gunning for the cup.

"It's been exciting to see the lift in intensity at training and at the trials since we were able to commit more resources to the team," Benson said.

"All the players have really embraced the challenge and I am confident they'll give the very best of themselves at this year's tournament."

Laura Mariu will skipper the side, with Georgia Hale as vice-captain.

They are joined in their pool by Canada and Papua New Guinea.

KIWI FERNS: Racquel Anderson, Ngatokotoru Arakua, Sharlene Atai, Maitua Feterika, Teuila Fotu Moala, Louisa Gago, Georgia Hale (vc), Honey Hireme, Amber Kani, Bunty Kuruwaka-Crowe, Laura Mariu (c), Lilieta Maumau, Nita Maynard, Raecene McGregor, Krystal Murray, Kimiora Nati, Apii Nicholls-Pualau, Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala, Hilda Peters, Kahurangi Peters, Krystal Rota, Aieshaleigh Smalley, Atawhai Tupaea, Shontelle Woodman.

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