22 Aug 2017

Black Ferns picking tough semi against USA

12:51 pm on 22 August 2017

The Black Ferns have made two changes to the squad which beat Canada for their up-coming Rugby World Cup semi final match against the USA in Belfast.

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Photo: Supplied

The four-time champion Black Ferns over-powered Canada 48-5 but coach Glenn Moore says he is expecting a significantly tougher match against the Americans.

Moore has stuck with the same starting line-up but gone for a six forward - two backs split in the reserves bringing in Aleisha Nelson as prop cover and Lesley Ketu to cover in the loose forwards.

"USA proved a handful in the second half for England because they have genuine pace on the edges. We expect them to throw everything at us, and when they have the ball they will be very quick."

Moore said the team had come through their pool play matches well and were ready for the USA side.

"We've planned carefully, and as a result the players have recovered well and are upbeat. Their level of focus both on and off the field is impressive and we're excited by the challenge in front of us."

New Zealand full-back Selica Winiata on the break against Canada

New Zealand full-back Selica Winiata on the break against Canada Photo: Supplied

The Black Ferns go into the semi-final as the number one side in the world, having returned to the top ranking after their win against Canada.

England who defeated New Zealand 29-21 in June are ranked second while the USA is ranked fifth behind France and Canada.

The Black Ferns will wear black armbands during the match to honour rugby legend Sir Colin Meads who sadly passed away at the weekend.

Moore said the team wanted to honour Meads for his enormous contribution to the black jersey and his support for grassroots rugby.

Following the Black Ferns v USA match at , England will face France in the other semi-final match of the Women's Rugby World Cup.

The team is (number of caps in brackets):

1. Toka Natua (14)

2. Fiao'o Faamausili - captain (50)

3. Aldora Itunu (13)

4. Eloise Blackwell (30)

5. Charmaine Smith (14)

6. Charmaine McMenamin (12)

7. Sarah Goss (8)

8. Aroha Savage (26)

9. Kendra Cocksedge (40)

10. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali (17)

11. Renee Wickliffe (28)

12. Kelly Brazier (35)

13. Stacey Waaka (9)

14. Portia Woodman (14)

15. Selica Winiata (29)

16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (18)

17. Sosoli Talawadua (6)

18. Aleisha Nelson (24)

19. Rebecca Wood (5)

20. Lesley Ketu (7)

21. Linda Itunu (34)

22. Theresa Fitzpatrick (5)

23. Carla Hohepa (23)