10 Nov 2020

Eloise Blackwell named Black Ferns captain

6:26 am on 10 November 2020

Auckland lock Eloise Blackwell is the new Black Ferns captain.

Blackwell has been named to lead the squad which includes nine uncapped players.

Eloise Blackwell in action for Auckland.


Les Elder, who led the side in 2019, gave birth to her first child this year and wasn't considered for selection because of injury.

Blackwell, a 29-year-old lock from Great Barrier Island (Aotea), made her debut in the black jersey in 2011 against England.

With 43 caps to her name, she was part of the Black Ferns 2014 and 2017 Rugby World Cup campaigns.

Canterbury halfback Kendra Cocksedge has been named as vice captain.

The only Black Ferns games this year are against the Barbarians over the next two weeks in Waitakere and Nelson.

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said Blackwell had grown her leadership skills in her role as captain for the Auckland Storm and had been a core member of the Black Ferns leadership group for several years.

"Ella sets an example as a tough and uncompromising player, often playing out the full 80 minutes for us. She has excellent game knowledge and leads by the way she plays. Along with this is she is a strategic thinker and natural communicator.

"Backed by Kendra, I believe the two of them will help us grow and develop the squad we need to be in the best possible position for Rugby World Cup next year."

Moore has included four new forwards and five new backs in the 2020 squad.

The nine new caps are: Amy Du Plessis (Otago), Renee Holmes (Waikato), Tanya Kalounivale (Waikato), Ilisapetu Molia (Counties Manukau), Kendra Reynolds (Bay of Plenty), Cheyelle Robins-Reti (Waikato), Grace Steinmetz (Canterbury), Lanulangi Veainu (Counties Manukau) and Kelsie Wills (Bay of Plenty).

Otago player Amy Du Plessis during their Farah Palmer Cup rugby match Otago v Tasman.

Amy du Plessis Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 2020 Black Ferns squad is (Test caps in brackets, new caps in bold):


Eloise Blackwell (Captain, 43) Auckland

Chelsea Bremner Canterbury

Luka Connor (5) Bay of Plenty

Tanya Kalounivale Waikato

Phillipa Love (11) Canterbury

Charmaine McMenamin (25) Auckland

Ilisapetu Molia Counties Manukau

Toka Natua (22) Waikato

Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (35) Auckland

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (30) Northland

Kendra Reynolds Bay of Plenty

Aroha Savage (33) Northland

Kennedy Simon (4) Waikato

Pia Tapsell (5) Bay of Plenty

Cristo Tofa (2) Auckland

Kelsie Wills Bay of Plenty


Chelsea Alley (24) Waikato

Grace Brooker (1) Canterbury

Kendra Cocksedge (Vice-Captain, 53) Canterbury

Ruahei Demant (11) Auckland

Amy DuPlessis Otago

Renee Holmes Waikato

Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (6) Counties Manukau

Cheyelle Robins-Reti Waikato

Grace Steinmetz Canterbury

Hazel Tubic (11) Counties Manukau

Lanulangi Veainu Counties Manukau

Selica Winiata (40) Manawatu

*Not considered due to injury: Lesley Elder (Bay of Plenty), Jackie Patea-Fereti (Wellington), Carla Hohepa (Waikato), Forne Burkin (Hawke's Bay), Renee Wickliffe (Bay of Plenty) and Ayesha Leti-Iiga (Wellington).