Marino & Demant new Māori faces in Black Ferns squad to tour Canada

By Piripi Taylor

National sevens champion Kiritapu Demant and mulit-code representative Arihiana Marino are two new faces in the Black Ferns team named to tour Canada later this month.

New Black Ferns coach Greg Smith named  a total 12 new players in the 26-woman squad that will be captained by incumbent skipper Fiao’o Fa’amausili. It includes 46-cap halfback Emma Jensen, and New Zealand Women’s Sevens players Honey Hireme and Selica Winiata. Joining them is second five-eighth Teresa Te Tamaki who returns after a three-year absence.

Smith said the high number of new players in the squad reflected the depth of talent in New Zealand and the increasing popularity of the women’s game.

“This competitive series represents the start of our build up to the 2017 Rugby World Cup, and not surprisingly a number of senior players retired after last year’s tournament while a number of others are out of contention due to injury.

"Luckily, there are a lot of exciting young players who are working very hard to earn an international spot. We have two top netballers in the squad – Charmaine Smith and Keri Hayden - who see an opportunity to represent their country. They have made the squad because of their fitness, skills and athleticism.

“Over the past six months we’ve seen 110 women from all over New Zealand at our regional programmes and it's clear from the enthusiasm of players, that it’s a very exciting time for women’s rugby. There is a real sense of momentum out there.”

A couple of strong campaigns with Auckland Storm has paid off for 18yr old Kiritapu Demant who was also an integral part of the of the Auckland Women's Sevens team that picked up the national title at the 2015 Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua.

She joins 23yr old Arihiana Marino as the two new half-backs for the team, with Marino securing yet another representative jersey having previously played for the New Zealand women's rugby league team and the Aotearoa Māori sevens side.

The Black Ferns will play Canada, USA and England in the international series from 27 June to 5 July.

Smith said the tournament will be a fantastic opportunity for talent identification and development as the Black Ferns look to build towards the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017.

2015 Black Ferns squad:

Toka Natua - Waikato
Fiao'o Fa'amausili (c) - Auckland
Aleisha Nelson - Auckland
Eloise Blackwell - Auckland
Charmaine Smith - North Harbour
Charlene Halapua - Auckland
Justine Lavea - Counties Manukau
Linda Itunu - Auckland
Aldora Itunu - Auckland
Sita Kuruyabaki - Manawatu
Teresa Te Tamaki - Waikato
Rebekah Tufuga - Manawatu
Te Kura Ngata-AerengamateCounties - Manukau
Angie Sisifa - Otago

Kendra Cocksedge - Canterbury
Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali - Counties Manukau
Chelsea Alley - North Harbour
Stacey Waaka - Waikato
Keri Hayden - Manawatu
Honey Hireme - Waikato
Selica Winiata - Manawatu
Renee Wickliffe - Counties Manukau
Kiritapu Demant - Auckland
Emma Jensen - Auckland
Arihiana Marino - Counties Manukau
Janna Vaughan - Manawatu

Women's Rugby Super Series Schedule:

June 27 – Calgary, AB
Calgary Rugby Park

USA vs. England
Kick Off: 16:00 (local time)
Tuesday 28th, 06:00 NZST

Black Ferns vs. Canada
Kick Off: 18:30PM (local time)
Tuesday 28th, 08:30 NZST

July 1 – Red Deer, AB
Red Deer Rugby Club

Black Ferns vs. England
Kick Off: 16:00PM (local time)
Thursday July 2, 06:00 NZST

Canada vs. USA
Kick Off: 18:30 (local time)
Thursday July 2, 08:30 NZST

July 5 – Edmonton, AB
Ellerslie Rugby Park

Black Ferns vs. USA
Kick Off: 4:00PM (local time)
Monday July 6, 06:00 NZST