14 Apr 2021

Black Ferns to feature prominently in historic fixture

9:13 am on 14 April 2021

The Blues and Chiefs have named talent-laden squads for next month's inaugural women's Super Rugby match.

Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell (left) with Chelsea Alley (far right) during the national anthem before the match between the Black Ferns v New Zealand Barbarians, held at Trusts Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand.  =

Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell (left) with Chelsea Alley (far right) before the match against the New Zealand Barbarians last year. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

More than 20 Black Ferns will feature in the historic encounter on Saturday, May 1 at Eden Park.

The Blues squad is headed by Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell and also includes her Auckland team-mates Ruahei Demant, Charmaine McMenamin, Aldoa Itunu, Natahlia Moors, Aleisha Nelson, Saphire Abraham and Cristo Tofa.

Black Ferns hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate is one of four Northland players in the Blues squad, which also features three North Harbour reps.

The Chiefs squad includes 12 Black Ferns, many from the Waikato side captained by Chelsea Alley which finished runner-up in last year's Farah Palmer Cup.

There are also nine players from Counties-Manukau, seven from Bay of Plenty and three from Taranaki in the Chiefs, who will be coached by Chad Shepherd.

"We are exceptionally excited for the opportunity to take on the Blues women at Eden Park in under a month's time. As a coaching group we are really pleased with the squad we have selected for this historic occasion," Shepherd said.

"We have an exciting balance of youth and experience; our Black Ferns players provide great leadership among an exciting group of young talented players who have broken onto the scene during last year's Farah Palmer Cup."

New Auckland Storm coach Willie Walker will take charge of the Blues.

"It's great to be able to participate in this first women's game between Super Rugby teams," Walker said.

"The growth of women's rugby around the world has been remarkable and while New Zealand has led the way in terms of development of players, we are now playing a bit of catch-up with the professional game."