Kiwi Ferns name 11 new faces for Samoa international

By Te Ao - Māori News

Eleven players will make their Kiwi Ferns debut against Samoa next weekend after newly appointed head coach Ricky Henry named his squad today.

"It's a proud moment to wear the Black and White jersey, especially for those making their debut in front of family and friends," Henry said in a statement.

"There is an exciting mix of fresh talent and experienced leadership in this squad and it was no easy feat narrowing the wider squad to 19. The women's game is strong and there is depth across the park - all positive signs as we build towards the 2021 World Cup." 

The debutants include Upper Central Stallions players Autumn Stephens and Mya Terehia Hill-Moana. Stephens was MVP at the national women's championship, while Hill-Moana was MVP in the championship final between the Stallions and Auckland Vulcans.

Vulcan's teammates Lavinia Tauhalaliku and Shannon Muru have also earned debut spots after impressive seasons. 

Others selected for debuts are Counties Manukau powerhouses Kere Matua and Christyl Stowers, as well as Harata Butler and Kararaina Wira-Kohu. 

Rounding out the list of debut players are Akarana front three Karli Hansen, Katelyn Vaha'akolo and Sharliz White. 

The Kiwi Ferns will meet the Fetu Samoa Invitational side on Saturday at 4pm at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.

The match is part of a Pacific Women's double-header with Tonga women lining up against Niue women in the earlier 2pm game. Both games will be televised live on Sky Sport 4 and Fox Sports in Australia.

The Kiwi Ferns last faced Fetū Samoa in June 2019 where they came away with a convincing 34 -14 victory.