Black Ferns finally back on the field after Covid-19 setbacks

By Jessica Tyson
Black Fern Stacey Waaka runs away to score at the 2019 World Series Sevens / Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Black Ferns have confirmed a revised three-match schedule in November despite the challenges caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The top women players in the country will play in a Possibles versus Probables match on Saturday November 7, as the players vie for national selection.

The Black Ferns will then play the New Zealand Barbarians on Saturday November 14 and Saturday November 21.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinso, says it is exciting to be able to secure matches for the Black Ferns and their fans, despite the challenges caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re committed to having the Black Ferns play in front of our local fans as we build up to next year’s Rugby World Cup and the opening rounds of the Farah Palmer Cup have been a good indicater of the outstanding quality of rugby we can expect from these three matches.”

Robinson said the pandemic meant all countries had had to revise their international women's fixtures this year.

Unique complexities

“Covid-19 has caused a range of unique complexities for the international women’s game. Many players balance work commitments with rugby, so for many teams extended periods away from their home countries to play international rugby is tough. The financial implications of quarantine and travel are also significant to teams.”

Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore says the matches would be an opportunity for players to contest a spot in the Rugby World Cup squad for 2021.

“Everyone has a lot to play for. While we would have loved to play eight tests this year as planned, the Covid-19 situation has delivered significant challenges for everyone. We'll take the opportunity we have to assemble and make the most of the rugby we do have. The most important thing is to be ready for September next year and we are determined to have the most prepared team there.

“We’ve had some really good training camps already this year and the talent the coaches and I are seeing in the Farah Palmer Cup is impressive. We will have some tough decisions on our hands,” he says.

Venues and kick-off times will be announced in the coming weeks.