Moata'ane set to make debut for Ferns - finally

Kilisitina Moata'ane. Photo: Getty Images
Kilisitina Moata'ane. Photo: Getty Images
It will hopefully be a case of third time lucky for Otago Spirit midfielder Kilisitina Moata'ane in Perth tomorrow night.

Moata'ane has been named in the reserves for the Black Ferns' match against Australia.

A debut has been beckoning but she has experienced two false starts.

She had been tantalising close to donning the black jersey only to suffer a late injury and be ruled out of the end-of-year tour last season.

She injured her ankle in the Farah Palmer Cup Championship final against Wellington late last year.

Earlier this year, history repeated itself before the Women's Rugby Super Series in California, and she was again forced to cool her heels.

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore said Moata'ane's ability to work her way back into contention for selection was testament to her determination and resilience.

"Kilisitina has faced some challenging setbacks but she's also been very clear about her dream to be a Black Fern.

"She's done the work and it's paid off. We're looking forward to watching her take the field on Saturday so she can demonstrate her talents," he said.

Tighthead prop Olivia Ward-Duin, of North Harbour, was included in the Super Series but has yet to take the field.

Moore said Ward-Duin had been a standout for her North Harbour Hibiscus side and brought size and power to the Black Ferns scrum.

"Olivia's gained a lot from being in our environment in San Diego. She was called into the squad on the back of an injury of another player and has really improved.

"She's tall and very strong. We believe with more experience she will become a world-class player."

The side will be playing for the Laurie O'Reilly Trophy, which Moore said was the equivalent of the Bledisloe Cup so it meant a lot to the team.

"We don't see ourselves as defending it. We need to win it again. The players are all working hard to challenge selection and represent their country."

The match will kick off at 7pm (NZ time).

Black Ferns 

Selica Winiata, Renee Wickliffe, Carla Hohepa, Chelsea Alley, Ayesha Leti-I'iga, Ruahei Demant, Kendra Cocksedge, Charmaine McMenamin, Les Elder (captain), Pia Tapsell, Eloise Blackwell, Aleisha-Pearl Nelson, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Toku Natua. Reserves: Forne Burkin, Leilani Perese, Olivia Ward-Duin, Joanah Ngan Woo, Kennedy Simon, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Krysten Cottrell, Kilisitina Moata’ane.


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