The first edition of the WXV kicks off in Wellington on October 21, concluding two rounds later with the Black Ferns facing their Rugby World Cup final opponents for the first time since that famous win at Eden Park last November.
Also included in the top tier of the new international tournament are the other two of the top three finishers from both the Six Nations and Pacific Four Series; France, Wales, Australia and Canada.
New Black Ferns coach Allan Bunting enjoyed a winning start to his reign with a dominant Pacific Four Series win and has named a largely similar 30-woman squad for the WXV, with the addition of some outstanding young talent who impressed in the recent Farah Palmer Cup season and the return of global superstar Ruby Tui.
Auckland’s FPC winning effort on Saturday has seen eight of their squad included in the Black Ferns outfit, contributing half of the team’s four new names: Chryss Viliko and Sophie Fisher.
The other two newcomers are Canterbury’s Martha Mataele and Manawatu’s Layla Sae.
“It has been a very tough selection for our coaching group, which demonstrates the growth in our women’s game and a reflection our depth is certainly building. Our new players have really stood out in several important behaviours we value. All of which we have been looking for in this year’s Farah Palmer Cup,” said Black Ferns Director of Rugby Bunting.
“It is an exciting opportunity for them to come on this journey and look to continue their growth both on and off the field. The future of our internal competition is exciting to see.”
Black ferns squad for the WXV 1
Amy Du Plessis
Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai’i (Sylvia) Brunt
* Denotes potential debut
Also announced was the first Black Ferns XV squad, a team packed with aspiring international talent who will face Manusina XV on September 23rd.
Black Ferns XV Squad
Leaso Grace Gago Tiatia
Angelica Mekemeke Vahai