Moata'ane forced to wait for Ferns debut

Kilistina Moata'ane, who is among the first group of Black Ferns players to be professionally...
Kilistina Moata'ane. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Otago's newest international has been denied the chance to get her first cap.

Midfield back Kilistina Moata'ane was picked for the Black Ferns side to take on the United States and France in a three test tour this month. But she did not make it to the plane.

Moata'ane injured her ankle badly in the Farah Palmer Cup championship final against Wellington on October 20.

There were fears she had broken it, but although it was not fractured she was unable to get it right for the tour.

The medical staff gave her until the day she was scheduled to fly out to be match fit, but Moata'ane did not make the cut and was left behind.

She has been replaced by Canterbury midfield back Lucy Anderson, who used to play for Otago.

The Black Ferns are due to take on France in Toulon tomorrow morning and have named one debutant in their squad - reserve flanker Marcelle Parkes, from Wellington.

Hawke's Bay's Krysten Cottrell will start at first five-eighth, and Ruahei Demant will move to second five.

Coach Glenn Moore said 20-year-old Parkes had been going from strength to strength in training and was ready to make her mark on the big stage.

"Marcelle is like a sponge. She soaks up everything the coaches and her team-mates teach her, and puts it into practice," he said.

"More than that, she studies the game in her own time and does a lot of work to make sure she thoroughly understands her role."

The Black Ferns reserves will be made up of six forwards and two backs, a proven combination from last year's Women's Rugby World Cup.

"It's an approach we used in Ireland and it worked well for us. We're expecting the French to be very physical up front and we've been training really hard to ensure we're ready for that. Having an extra forward available will give us extra strength to combat the French pack."

Moore said he was impressed with aspects of the Black Ferns' performance against the USA in Chicago last Sunday, but there was always room for improvement.

The Black Ferns will play against France in a game which will kick-off at 9.30pm local time [8.30am tomorrow NZ time].


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