24 Apr 2018

Black Ferns to play two Tests against Australia

1:01 pm on 24 April 2018

New Zealand will get their first taste of the World Champion Black Ferns in action when they take on Australia in two trans-Tasman double header Test matches in August.

New Zealand Black Ferns winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup final

New Zealand Black Ferns winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup final Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 © INPHO

The Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy will be up for grabs when the Black Ferns play Australia in Sydney and Auckland on the same nights as the All Blacks take on Australia in their bid for the Bledisloe Cup.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said the Test matches will give rugby fans on both sides of the Tasman the opportunity to enjoy a couple of thrilling nights of rugby.

"We are very excited at the prospect of having both the Black Ferns and All Blacks in action against one of our closest rivals. Having our two top sides take on the Aussies in the same night is something special and to be able to schedule double Test matches both home and away is a real bonus."

"The popularity of the Black Ferns and women's rugby has grown massively in the past couple of years and we're sure Kiwi fans on both sides of the Tasman will take this opportunity to cheer on our World Champions. For the players it's a chance for friends and family to watch them play at home too."

The first double-header takes place at ANZ Stadium on 18 August with a rematch the following week on Saturday 25 August, in Auckland.

New Zealand Rugby will announce its first-ever group of players to be contracted as Black Ferns under a new professional performance programme in the coming weeks ahead of the Black Ferns' first training camp in mid-June.

The terms for the Black Ferns programme are set out in a Memorandum of Understanding and will see a minimum of 30 players employed by NZR on a Black Ferns contract with a guaranteed retainer, assembly fees and a range of other benefits.

The Black Ferns Test November schedue is close to being finalsed and will be announced in due course.

The Black Ferns are current holders of the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy.