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Moore makes three changes to Black Ferns squad for Australian series

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allblacks.com     24 Jul 2019     Getty Images

Canterbury's Brooker has been named in the travelling squad for the first time, and Wellington's Patea-Fereti rejoins the squad in 2019, returning from injury. Otago's Moata'ane, although named in the Black Ferns twice previously, was ruled out on both occasions due to injury.

The Black Ferns play in Perth (10 August) and Auckland (17 August) for the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy as part of double-header matches with the All Blacks for the Bledisloe Cup Test series with Australia.
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The squad for the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy (number of caps in brackets, uncapped players *) is:

FORWARDS
Hookers
Forne Burkin (1) Canterbury
Luka Connor (3) Bay of Plenty
Te Kura Ngata-Aerengemate (28) Northland

Props
Toka Natua (20) Waikato
Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (33) Auckland
Leilani Perese (9) Counties Manukau
Olivia Ward-Duin North Harbour*

Locks
Eloise Blackwell (41) Auckland
Karli Faneva (2) Bay of Plenty
Joanah Ngan-Woo (2) Wellington
Jackie Patea-Fereti (17) Wellington
Charmaine Smith (25) Auckland

Loose forwards
Les Elder (Captain, 16) Bay of Plenty
Charmaine McMenamin (22) Auckland
Marcelle Parkes (5) Wellington
Pia Tapsell (4) North Harbour

BACKS
Halfbacks
Kendra Cocksedge (Vice captain, 51) Canterbury
Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (4) Counties Manukau

First five-eighths
Krysten Cottrell (6) Hawke's Bay
Ruahei Demant (9) Auckland

Midfield
Carla Hohepa (22) Waikato
Chelsea Alley (22) Waikato
Grace Brooker Canterbury*
Kilisitina Moata'ane Otago*

Outside backs
Ayesha Leti-I'iga (7) Wellington
Natahlia Moors (2) Auckland
Renee Wickliffe (39) Bay of Plenty
Selica Winiata (Vice captain, 38) Manawatu
Moore said Patea-Fereti made a significant contribution to the side in 2018 and he was pleased to include her in the Laurie O'Reilly series now that she was back playing club rugby following an injury earlier in the year.

"Jackie has a wealth of experience in the lineout, she's versatile and brings physicality. She was a major asset to the team last year and we're very pleased she's back."

Twenty-year-old Brooker has been in the wider Black Ferns squad for the past two years and impressed at training camps and provincial level.

"Grace had an outstanding season for Canterbury last year and her selection is thoroughly deserved. She's a huge talent and can play at midfield and fullback and we're excited to see what she can bring at this level."

Otago's Moata'ane is also a step closer to making her Black Ferns debut after twice being selected previously only for late injuries to prevent her from taking her place in the squad.

"Kilisitina has demonstrated fantastic resilience to continue to train hard and secure her spot, despite her setbacks. We're looking forward to giving her an opportunity in the black jersey."

Moore said bringing in new players gave the team a chance to try new combinations and continue to build depth at Test level.

The Black Ferns returned to New Zealand from San Diego with the Women's Rugby Super Series 2019 trophy after three wins against Canada, USA and England, and a loss against France. Moore said the team had improved during the series and would need to be prepared for a very competitive Australian side.

"Australia has just had a successful series against Japan and women's rugby is going from strength to strength across the Tasman as players gain more game time at a higher level.

"The Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy is the equivalent of the Bledisloe Cup, it means a great deal to both sides and we're determined to retain it," he said.

Canterbury's Pip Love was unavailable for selection due to injury. Kelly Brazier, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Alena Saili have returned to their Black Ferns Sevens camp for preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games.

There is one other uncapped player in the squad, North Harbour's Olivia Ward-Duin, who travelled to San Diego but didn't take the field. 

Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy
Saturday 10 August - Perth
Black Ferns v Australia, Optus Stadium
Kickoff: 7pm (NZT)

Bledisloe Cup
All Blacks v Australia, Optus Stadium
Kickoff – 9.45pm (NZT)

Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy
Saturday, 17 August – Auckland
Black Ferns v Australia, Eden Park
Kickoff: 5pm (NZT)

Bledisloe Cup
All Blacks v Australia, Eden Park Auckland.
Kickoff: 7:35pm (NZT)

Broadcast
All matches will be broadcast live on SKY Sport 1.