Second chance for Moata'ane to play for NZ

Kilistina Moata'ane has been selected for the Black Ferns side. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Kilistina Moata'ane. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Otago midfield back Kilisitina Moata'ane will finally get her chance to wear the black jersey after being named in the Black Ferns last night.

Moata'ane was named in the Black Ferns last year for the end-of-year tour to North America and Europe.

However, an ankle injury sustained in the final game of the domestic season for Otago ruled the hard-running midfielder out of the tour.

But she is set to make her debut this year in a new-look Black Ferns side which will play in the United States. Also picked is Southland winger Alena Saili, who played two tests for the Black Ferns last year against Australia but did not make the end-of-season trip due to sevens commitments.

The side contains 10 uncapped players while new skipper Les Elder takes over from the now retired Fiao'o Fa'amausili.

Elder, an openside flanker, first played for New Zealand in 2015 and was part of the World Cup-winning side in 2017. The Bay of Plenty representative has played 13 tests.

Halfback Kendra Cocksedge and fullback Selica Winiata will be co-vice-captains.

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore said Elder was an uncompromising player and had an outstanding knowledge of the game.

''Off the field she has the ability to bring players together and bring out the best in them. She is a clear communicator, setting high standards for her and for others to follow.''

Moore has included seven new forwards in the squad and three new backs as players move on or concentrate on other forms of the game.

One interesting inclusion in the squad is former Otago Spirit player Carla Hohepa. She first played for the national side in 2007 and has been in and out of the team since.

She was part of the 2010 World Cup-winning side, scoring a try in the final, and also took part in the 2017 final, again gaining a winner's medal.

Hohepa, who has also dabbled in sevens, will now come back into the frame for the World Cup in New Zealand in 2021.

Former Otago inside back Kelly Brazier has also been picked in the team, stepping away from her sevens commitments.

Former Otago prop Pip Love, who now plays in Canterbury, remains in the squad.

The side will travel to San Diego in July and play the United States, Canada, England and France. The team will then return to New Zealand where it plays Australia twice.

Moore said it was a tough team to pick and many young players put up their hands.

That was building up depth in the squad and would make it a difficult job when the World Cup squad was picked in a couple of years.

The departure of some key players from the team this year just added to the excitement of the team and he was looking forward to working with the new players.

 

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