Four Cyclones Named in Black Ferns Training Squad

The campaign to win the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017 has begun with the wider Black Ferns training squad named today.

The 56 players will be part of a 12-month high performance training programme for 2016, focussed on strength and conditioning, and building technical and tactical skills.

Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore said he and his coaching and management team are looking ahead to the Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland in 2017 in naming a wider squad.

"We'll be announcing our test programme for 2016 soon and all these women have the opportunity to be part of the Black Ferns.

"We have our eyes on the prize - the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017. The campaign to once again be world champions has begun. The players are hungry for it and we will make sure the World Cup team represents the best players in New Zealand.

"We've just had a very competitive Women's Provincial Championship season and we want to continue the momentum."

The squad features 18 current Black Ferns including World Rugby's 2015 Women's Rugby Player of the Year Kendra Cocksedge, and captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili.

The squad includes 14 out of the all-conquering Auckland Storm side, with 38-year-old Emma Jensen needing just one more test to surpass Anna Richards as the most capped Black Fern.

The coaching staff has also been confirmed. The assistant forwards coach is once again Wesley Clarke and Grant Keenan has been appointed as assistant backs coach for the first time. Keenan is currently coach of New Zealand Heartland XV and Mid Canterbury.

He was also the coach of Auckland B from 2011-2012 and coached professionally in Japan for Toyota from 2007 to 2011.

New Zealand Rugby's head of women's rugby development Cate Sexton said the experience within the coaching and management team and depth of player talent was indicative of the increased interest and resources for women's rugby at all levels.

"Naming 56 players from around New Zealand who have a shot at the black jersey shows how much talent is out there. We really want to develop that talent and make sure when we select the squad for our test series and later the Women's Rugby World Cup that we have the best of the best."

Toka Natua (Waikato), Hinewai Pomare (Counties Manukau), Moana Aiatu (Wellington), Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty), Jessie Hansen (Canterbury), Sosoli Talawadua (Waikato), Fiao'o Fa'amausili (Auckland), Te Kura Ngata (Counties Manukau) Rebekah Tufuga (Manawatu), Teresa Te Tamaki (Waikato), Aleisha Nelson (Auckland), Aldora Itunu (Auckland), Katie Mailata (Counties Manukau), Steph Te Ohaere-Fox (Canterbury), Eloise Blackwell (Auckland), Charmaine Smith (North Harbour), Sanita Levave (Wellington), Rawinia Everitt (Counties Manukau), Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland), Aroha Savage (Counties Manukau), Charlene Halapua (Auckland), Hana Tapiata (Bay of Plenty), Mikyla Wardlaw (Bay of Plenty), Justine Lavea (Counties Manukau), Sharnita Woodman (Counties Manukau), Lydia Crossman (Auckland), Aimee Sutorius (Wellington), Linda Itunu (Auckland), Angie Sisifa (Otago), Jackie Patea (Wellington)

Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Kiritapu Demant (Auckland), Emma Jensen (Auckland), Arihana Marino (Counties Manukau), Ariana Bayler (Waikato), Raquel Anderson (Waikato), Ruahei Demant (Auckland), Lizzie Goulden (Wellington), Victoria Subritzky- Nafatali (Counties Manukau), Janna Vaughan (Manawatu), Shakira Baker (Waikato),
Chelsea Alley (North Harbour), Amanda Rasch (Wellington), Onjeurlina Leiataua (Auckland), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Georgia Daals (Wellington), Keri Hayden (Manawatu), Greer Muir (Otago), Lucy Anderson (Canterbury), Renee Wickliffe (Counties Manukau), Mele Hufanga (Auckland), Ayesha Leti-Liga (Wellington), Lauren Balsillie (Manawatu), Ana Masters (Waikato), Crystal Mayes (Manawatu), Huia Harding (Waikato)

Source: NZ Herald