Openside flanker Les Elder was announced as the new captain of the Black Ferns at the official team naming in Auckland last night. The Bay of Plenty player takes over the role from the now retired Fiao’o Faamausili, and will lead the side into a busy test schedule in 2019.
Coach Glenn Moore said Elder was a natural leader who had quickly made an impact on the culture of the squad since her debut in 2015.
“On the field Les is uncompromising, and her knowledge of the game is outstanding. Off the field she has the ability to bring players together and bring out the best in them. She is a clear communicator, setting high standards for herself for others to follow."
As well as a new skipper, the team also contains seven new players: Karli Faneva (Bay of Plenty), Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty), Forne Burkin (Canterbury), Kennedy Simon (Waikato), Harono Te Iringa (Counties Manukau), Grace Brooker (Canterbury) and Pia Tapsell (North Harbour).
Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington), Kilisitina Moata-ana (Otago) and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Counties Manukau) have all been named in the squad previously, but have not been capped yet.
The Black Ferns will play in the inaugural Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 in San Diego, which commences at the end of next month. Following that, they will play against the Australian Wallaroos as part of two double-header matches alongside the All Blacks and Wallabies in Perth and Auckland in August.
It’s been a big week for the Black Ferns, with former players honoured in a capping ceremony on Saturday night, then the Sevens side winning the latest World Series Event in Canada.
The Black Ferns squad is (Test caps in brackets):
Eloise Blackwell (37) Auckland
Forne Burkin Canterbury
Luka Connor Bay of Plenty
Les Elder (Captain, 13) Bay of Plenty
Karli Faneva Bay of Plenty
Aldora Itunu (20) Auckland
Phillipa Love (7) Canterbury
Charmaine McMenamin (19) Auckland
Toka Natua (16) Waikato
Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (29) Auckland
Joanah Ngan Woo Wellington
Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (23) Counties Manukau
Marcelle Parkes (2) Wellington
Leilani Perese (5) Counties Manukau
Kennedy Simon Waikato
Charmaine Smith (21) Auckland
Pia Tapsell North Harbour
Harono Te Iringa Counties Manukau
Cristo Tofa Auckland
Chelsea Alley (18) Waikato
Kelly Brazier (37) Bay of Plenty
Grace Brooker Canterbury
Kendra Cocksedge (Co-Vice Captain, 47) Canterbury
Krysten Cottrell (5) Hawke's Bay
Kiritapu Demant (2) Bay of Plenty
Ruahei Demant (5) Auckland
Theresa Fitzpatrick (9) Auckland
Carla Hohepa (19) Waikato
Ayesha Leti-I'iga (3) Wellington
Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu Counties Manukau
Kilisitina Moata'ane Otago
Natahlia Moors (1) Auckland
Alena Saili (2) Southland
Renee Wickliffe (35) Bay of Plenty
Selica Winiata (Co-Vice Captain, 36) Manawatu