Former Otago players among Black Ferns capped

Former Otago player Maree Edwards receiving her Black Ferns cap from New Zealand Rugby president...
Former Otago player Maree Edwards receiving her Black Ferns cap from New Zealand Rugby president Bill Osborne and former Black Fern Anna Richards. Photo: Getty Images.
There were plenty of Otago faces as former Black Ferns took part in official capping ceremonies over the past two weeks.

The ceremonies follow on from the All Black capping observance which started about a decade ago.

Between the end of World War 2 and 1997, no caps were awarded to All Blacks but that has been rectified by caps given out in the past few years, starting in 2009.

The Black Ferns then got in on the act with an inaugural capping ceremony last year and now two ceremonies this month.

Former Otago backs Heidi Reader, Hannah Myers and Claire Richardson were awarded their caps in Auckland on May 11.

Then last weekend in Christchurch, more Otago players were able to pick up their caps.

Halfback Maree Edwards, prop Margaret McKenzie, outside back Anika Tiplady and loose forward Angie Sisifa were all given caps by NZR president Bill Osborne and former Black Ferns player Anna Richards.

They were in a group of 19, mostly made up of former Canterbury players including New Zealand rugby player of the year Kendra Cocksedge, who took part in the function on Saturday night.

McKenzie, who played five tests for New Zealand as a prop, all overseas, in 2000 and 2005, said it was a grand occasion and a great night for women's rugby.

Few tests in women's rugby in the early years of international play took place in New Zealand so not many family members or friends actually saw the players live in action for the national team.

So getting family members to go to the capping ceremony was a small part of allowing the family to join in with the pleasure of playing for your country.

Edwards was a halfback who played 48 games for Otago and a two tests for NZ in 1998 and 2000.

Tiplady was a doctor in the New Zealand Army who played for Otago while studying.

She has since left the army although she is still an army reserve.

She also won a national title with the Canterbury Pride women's football team and won a Coast to Coast team title.

She is still heavily involved in rugby and is the doctor for the Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup team as well as the Canterbury women's rugby team.

Sisifa was picked for the Black Ferns in 2015 and has played seven tests for the Black Ferns. She shifted to Canterbury last year after a top career for Otago.

There were other former Otago players capped but they became All Blacks after leaving the province and representing another union.

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