Sevens stars injected into Black Ferns for final RWC warm-up

Source: 1News

Wayne Smith has wasted no time in seeing what his newest recruits can offer him ahead of the Rugby World Cup, naming all four of his Sevens selections in Saturday's squad to play Japan ahead of next month's tournament.

Portia Woodman.

After making the cut for this year's World Cup squad earlier this month, Sarah Hirini, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Portia Woodman have all been named to start on Saturday while Stacey Fluhler will look to make an impact off the bench.

Former Black Ferns Sevens star Ruby Tui has also been named to start on the left wing.

Smith said on Saturday was the perfect time for the Sevens players to be tested.

"They are world class athletes; hugely professional in terms of their preparation and they came in knowing all the plays so I’m confident they’ve done the homework and they deserve an opportunity," Smith said.

Smith has named an otherwise regular lineup for the Eden Park fixture with the likes of No.8 Charmaine McMenamin, halfback Kendra Cocksedge and captain Ruahei Demant all starting after last month's tight 22-14 win over the Wallaroos.

Kendra Cocksedge on her way to scoring her first-half try against Australia in Christchurch on Saturday night.

"This weekend we want to see a progression from where we have been," Smith said.

"We didn’t play very well in Adelaide so now it’s a matter of getting better at what we are good at."

Saturday's Test, which is part of a double header alongside the All Blacks' Test later against the Wallabies, will be the Black Ferns' first against Japan.

“We wanted to play them," Smith said of Japan.

"We’ve seen them play a couple of times this year, they beat Australia, they are quick and are going to be a different challenge for us which is important."

Black Ferns vs Japan, Saturday 24 Sept, Eden Park, 4:00pm

Black Ferns: 15. Renee Holmes, 14. Portia Woodman, 13. Amy du Plessis, 12. Theresa Fitzpatrick, 11. Ruby Tui, 10. Ruahei Demant [C], 9. Kendra Cocksedge, 8. Charmaine McMenamin, 7. Sarah Hirini, 6. Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, 5. Chelsea Bremner, 4. Joanah Ngan Woo, 3. Amy Rule, 2. Luka Connor, 1. Pip Love

Reserves: 16. Georgia Ponsonby, 17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, 18. Santo Taumata, 19. Maiakawanakaulani Roos, 20. Kendra Reynolds, 21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, 22. Stacey Fluhler, 23. Hazel Tubic