Steinmetz debuts at 15 as Black Ferns shake up side for Aussies

Source: 1News

Wayne Smith has rung the changes for this weekend's second Test against Australia with eight new faces promoted to the starting XV after last week's big win.

Grace Steinmetz.

Smith named his side for the Adelaide Test on Thursday morning following last Saturday's 52-5 win in Christchurch, with a pair of debutants picked among numerous changes to the squad.

Grace Steinmetz will earn her first Test cap with a start at fullback while Bay of Plenty teenager Santo Taumata will come off the bench for her debut in the No.18 jersey.

Smith said he was excited for the duo to get their opportunities.

“Grace is very good defensively, she has good footwork and is good at getting that final pass away. Clearly we know she can play on the wing but we want to see how she goes at fullback," Smith said.

“Santo is immensely strong, she’s a good scrummager and is very quick off the ground. We might just see the birth of a star.

"For a 19-year-old she is phenomenal."

Among Smith's other changes are Ariana Bayler making her first start at halfback, while a whole new midfield in Chelsea Semple and Sylvia Brunt has been named.

READ MORE: Smith demands Black Ferns be fitter, faster, deadlier for World Cup

The Black Ferns noted both Theresa Fitzpatrick and Tyla Nathan-Wong have returned to the Black Ferns Sevens programme as they build for the Rugby Sevens World Cup early next month.

In the forwards, Pip Love is joined by two new faces in the front row with Luka Connor starting at hooker and Amy Rule playing tighthead.

Behind them, Joanah Ngan-Woo shifts from the No.4 jersey to No.5 with Maiakawanakaulani Roos replacing Chelsea Bremner as the other lock. Bremner moves to the bench.

In the loose forwards, Kennedy Simon also goes up one jersey number from last week to No.8, allowing Kendra Reynolds to join her and Alana Bremner at openside flanker.

Alana Bremner of the Black Ferns fends off Mahalia Murphy of Australia in the Laurie O'Reilly Cup Test.

Smith said he wants the side to build on last week's result.

"I felt we played well; we saw an improvement in our forward play and our defence but our skill execution was poor," he said.

"We are wanting to play a fast, attacking game on top of the opposition which requires a specific skillset, so its area that requires more effort."

The Black Ferns play Australia in Adelaide at 2:30pm NZT on Saturday.

Black Ferns: 15. Grace Steinmetz*, 14. Ruby Tui, 13. Sylvia Brunt, 12. Chelsea Semple, 11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga, 10. Ruahei Demant (cc), 9. Ariana Bayler, 8. Kennedy Simon (cc), 7. Kendra Reynolds, 6. Alana Bremner, 5. Joanah Ngan Woo, 4. Maiakawanakaulani Roos,3. Amy Rule, 2. Luka Connor, 1. Pip Love

Reserves: 16. Natalie Delamare, 17. Krystal Murray, 18. Santo Taumata*, 19. Chelsea Bremner, 20. Charmaine McMenamin, 21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, 22. Renee Holmes, 23. Hazel Tubic