Black Ferns' 2023 season: Just one Test in NZ announced

Thu, Mar 2
Portia Woodman was again too hot to handle in the Black Ferns' recent World Cup victory over Wales.

The Black Ferns' first Tests under new coach Allan Bunting have been confirmed with Kiwi fans only getting one chance to see the world champions live this year - so far.

New Zealand Rugby announced this afternoon the Black Ferns will play two O'Reilly Cup matches against the Wallaroos this year while also featuring in the Pacific Four series.

The world champions will open their season in June in Australia against the Wallaroos in a match that doubles as both an O'Reilly Cup fixture and Pacific Four Test.

The Black Ferns will then travel to Canada to play the World No.4 outfit as well as the US in July for their other Pacific Four Tests.

After that, the Black Ferns will finally get a chance to play in front of a home crowd when they play the second O'Reilly Cup Test at a yet-to-be-confirmed New Zealand venue in September.

After taking over the side last month, Bunting said there was plenty of excitement for more women's Test rugby.

“We are delighted to have an exciting Test schedule ahead of us," Bunting said.

"To consistently be involved in fixtures both in New Zealand and abroad enables us to be able to build depth and challenge us as a team, while allowing our fans to continue on this journey with us."

While the announcement leaves Black Ferns fans with only one confirmed Test to look forward to so far in 2023, NZR added they were in "positive conversations" with World Rugby to host the inaugural WXV 1 Tournament later in the year.

World Rugby launched the new three-tier annual global competition this year within a restructuring of the Test calendar, hoping it will revolutionise the women’s international rugby landscape and provide a meaningful pathway for all unions as well as a competitive springboard towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025.

Bunting said it would be a fantastic opportunity to be able to host the six best women’s teams in the world in New Zealand.

“It would be great for New Zealand as a country to continue to generate the excitement they showed for women’s rugby during the Rugby World Cup, as we would like to see Aotearoa - New Zealand backing the Black Ferns when WXV kicks-off."

Black Ferns 2023 Tests

Australia v Black Ferns – June, Australia

Canada v Black Ferns – July, Canada

USA v Black Ferns - July, Canada

Black Ferns v Australia – Saturday 30 September, TBC, New Zealand


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