3 Apr 2019

Kiwi Ferns back players choosing to play for Samoa

5:38 pm on 3 April 2019

The New Zealand Kiwi Ferns will play Fetu Samoa as part of an international double-header losing some of their own players in the process.

Kiwi Ferns playing in international test against Australia in 2018 - Georgia Hale pictured

Kiwi Ferns playing in international test against Australia in 2018 - Georgia Hale pictured Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

The Kiwi Ferns are finally receiving more international matches, this time against Fetu Samoa as part of an international double-header featuring the Kiwis and Mate Ma'a Tonga men's teams in Auckland on June 22.

They will play the national Samoan women's side for just the second time - the Kiwi Ferns winning the previous match 26-4 at the 2008 Women's Rugby League World Cup.

While the result is hardly anyting to go by eight years later, Fetu Samoa will welcome a healthy boost with New Zealand players choosing to switch alliegiences to play for their home nation.

Kiwi Ferns representatives Louisa Gago and Sui Tauaua-Pauaraisa have decided to wear the blue jersey over the black and white, with other NRLW players Oneata Schwalger (St George Illawarra Dragons) and Maitua Feterika (Brisbane Broncos) also eligible for the island nation.

New Zealand fullback Apii Nicholls says it's a loss to their side, but an important personal decision that her and the side support.

"I'm pretty sure they have very good reasons to jump to play for Samoa and they probably did it to give back to their supporters and their home country," says Nicholls

"It could also be for pride and to give back to their families and the NZRL and Kiwi Ferns definitely do support that."

The game will be the Kiwi Ferns' first under new head coach Justin Morgan, whom they haven't interacted with yet, and follows a 26-24 loss to the Australian Jillaroos in Auckland last year.

With players switching to play for Samoa it poses a similar situation for the Ferns in facing players they have played alongside internationally and in the NRLW.

Nicholls says while she predicts a very physical match against a side who are historically reuniting, it's tough to gauge the strength of the challenge.

"It will be very challenging with the players that we have played with now playing for Samoa they are very talented and skillful," says Nicholl

"They are a very physical team, but I know that we are a physical team so it's going to be very hard to judge I just know that it's going to be very tought for both teams to take the field."