Fifty-two of the country's top female rugby players will vie for a spot in this year's Black Ferns squad following today's naming of the squads for the upcoming Possibles v Probables match.
Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore announced the team this afternoon for the November 7 match at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, saying the two sides were a mix of youth and experience and was expecting an exciting contest.
Of note, long-time Black Fern and 2018 Kel Tremain Memorial Player of the Year Kendra Cocksedge has been named in the Possibles squad alongside long-time teammate Selica Winiata while powerhouse wing Portia Woodman - who scored six tries in one Farah Palmer Cup match this season - is missing from the two squads altogether.
Black Ferns captain Les Elder is also missing from the squads but selectors noted she was unavailable due to injury.
“We’ve balanced experienced with new and up-and-coming players who have the potential to become names of the future. We are confident we have the right mix," Moore said.
“The adversity the players have faced this year has inspired them and that's been reflected by their performances. The result has been some of the best Farah Palmer Cup action the provincial coaches and I have seen. Knowing these trial squads would be named, and with Rugby World Cup next year, there has been huge motivation for everyone.
“The challenge for the players now is to come together quickly in their respective squads, work as a team, and prepare for a tough match-up. The potential of being named in a Black Ferns squad in a couple of weeks will ramp the pressure up further."
The match kicks off the Black Ferns' domestic season which has a further two matches against a New Zealand Barbarians squad later next month before attention turns to next year's Rugby World Cup on home soil, pending the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Possibles team
Forwards: Alana Bremner (Canterbury), Amy Rule (Canterbury), Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland), Chelsea Bremner (Canterbury), Grace Houpapa-Barrett (Waikato), Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington), Katie Mata’u (Counties Manukau), Kendra Reynolds (Bay of Plenty), Kennedy Simon (Waikato), Krystal Murray (Northland), Pia Tapsell (Bay of Plenty), Pip Love (Canterbury), Saphire Abraham (Auckland), Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (Northland).
Backs: Carys Dallinger (Manawatu), Cheyelle Robins-Reti (Waikato), Grace Brooker (Canterbury), Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau), Iritana Hohaia (Taranaki), Janna Vaughan (Manawatu), Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Kilisitina Moata’ane (Dunedin), Monica Tagoai (Wellington), Natahlia Moors (Auckland), Rosie Kelly (Otago), Selica Winiata (Manawatu).
The Probables team
Forwards: Aldora Itunu (Auckland), Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (Auckland), Aroha Savage (Northland), Cristo Tofa (Auckland), Eloise Blackwell (Auckland), Jay Jay Taylor (North Harbour), Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Manawatu), Kelsie Wills (Bay of Plenty), Lisa Molia (Counties Manukau), Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty), Maia Roos (Auckland), Marcelle Parkes (Wellington), Rebecca Todd (Canterbury), Toka Natua (Waikato).
Backs: Amy Du Plessis (Otago), Ariana Bayler (Waikato), Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Counties Manukau), Carla Hohepa (Waikato), Chelsea Alley (Waikato), Grace Steinmetz (Canterbury), Langi Veainu (Counties Manukau), Lyric Falaefaga (Wellington), Martha Lolohea (Canterbury), Patricia Maliepo (Auckland), Renee Holmes (Waikato), Ruahei Demant (Auckland).
Unavailable for selection due to injury: Forne Burkin (Hawke's Bay), Ayesha Leti-I'iga (Wellington), Les Elder (Bay of Plenty), Renee Wicklife (Bay of Plenty), Liana Mikaele Tu'u (Hawke's Bay), Tanya Kalouivale (Waikato) and Lauren Balsille (Manawatu).