Newly appointed Head Coach Ricky Henry has named 11 debutantes for the much-anticipated International against Fetu Samoa Invitational on Saturday, November 7 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland (4:00 pm kick-off local time).
The Kiwi Ferns squad is fresh with budding talent from the inaugural Sky Sport Women’s Premiership and NZRL Women’s Championship as well as seasoned Kiwi Ferns and returnees from the NRLW Warriors campaign.
Standouts from the National Women’s Championship who have earned their debuts include Upper Central Stallion’s Autumn Stephens and Mya Terehia Hill-Moana.
Stephens was crowned MVP of the National Women’s Championship and Mya Terehia Hill-Moana earned herself MVP of the Women’s Championship final where the Stallions came away with a 12-10 win over the Auckland Vulcans. Auckland Vulcan’s Lavinia Tauhalaliku and Shannon Muru have also earned their debut spots after impressive seasons.
Out of the Sky Sport Women’s Premiership, champion Counties Manukau powerhouses Kere Matua and Christyl Stowers both earn their debuts as well as MVP of the Premiership Harata Butler and MVP of the grand final Kararaina Wira-Kohu. Akarana front three of the 11 Kiwi Fern debutantes in Karli Hansen, Katelyn Vaha’akolo and Sharliz White.
Seasoned Kiwi Fern names return to the squad including star Counties’ fullback Amber Kani, Captain Krystal Rota and unstoppable forward Maitua Feterika who all impressed for the Stingrays throughout the Premiership competition.
Resilient Kiwi Ferns’ winger Julianna Newman returns post knee surgery, impressing in Akarana colours and Kiwi Fern veteran, Honey Hireme-Smiler is back after missing out on the NRWL Warriors campaign due to injury. Crystal Tamarua and Kanyon Paul also join the 19-women squad fresh from the Warriors’ NRLW campaign.
“I want to congratulate those selected for our up and coming International against Samoa,” says Head Coach Ricky Henry.
“It’s a proud moment to wear the Black and White jersey, especially for those making their debut in front of family and friends. I have been encouraged by the performances in the Sky Sport Premiership, National Championship, and NRLW competition.
“There is an exciting mix of fresh talent and experienced leadership in this squad and it was no easy feat narrowing the wider squad to 19. The women’s game is strong and there is depth across the park – all positive signs as we build towards the 2021 World Cup.”
The Kiwi Ferns last faced Fetū Samoa in June 2019 where they came away with a convincing 34 -14 victory.
The Clash of the Pacific Women’s Double Header is taking place Saturday, November 7 at Mt Smart Stadium. Tonga women will face Niue women at 2:00 pm followed by the Kiwi Ferns v Fetu Samoa Invitational at 4:00 pm.
Both games will be televised live on Sky Sport 4 and Fox Sports in Australia.
New Zealand Rugby League wishes to congratulate the following players:
Amber Kani – Counties
Autumn Stephens * – Upper Central
Charlottle Scanlan – Akarana
Christyl Stowers * – Counties
Crystal Tamarua – Warriors
Harata Butler * – Counties
Honey Hireme-Smiler – Upper Central
Juliana Newman – Akarana
Kanyon Paul – Warriors
Kararaina Wira-Kohu * – Counties
Karli Hansen * – Akarana
Kere Matua * – Counties
Katelyn Vaha’akolo * – Akarana
Krystal Rota – Counties
Lavinia Tauhalaliku * – Auckland Vulcans
Maitua Feterika – Counties
Mya Terehia Hill-Moana* – Upper Central
Shannon Muru * – Auckland Vulcans
Sharliz White * – Akarana