New Zealand women's national rugby union team

The New Zealand women's rugby union team, called the Black Ferns, represents New Zealand in women's international rugby union, which is regarded as the country's national sport.[2] The team has won six out of nine Women's Rugby World Cup tournaments.

New Zealand
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Black Ferns
UnionNew Zealand Rugby
Head coachWayne Smith
CaptainKennedy Simon
Most capsKendra Cocksedge (68)
Top scorerKendra Cocksedge (404)
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current2 (as of 16 January 2023)
Highest1 (2003-2012, 2013-2020)
Lowest2 (2012, 2020)
First international
 New Zealand 56 – 0 Netherlands 
(Christchurch, New Zealand; 26 August 1990)
Biggest win
 New Zealand 134 – 6 Germany 
(Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2 May 1998)
Biggest defeat
 England 56 – 15 New Zealand 
(Northampton, England; 7 November 2021)
World Cup
Appearances8 (First in 1991)
Best resultChampions (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2017, 2021)
Top 20 rankings as of 16 January 2023[1]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  England 094.29
2 Steady  New Zealand 093.19
3 Steady  France 089.68
4 Steady  Canada 084.22
5 Steady  Italy 078.70
6 Steady  Australia 078.00
7 Steady  United States 076.78
8 Steady  Ireland 074.01
9 Steady  Wales 072.70
10 Steady  Scotland 068.71
11 Steady  Spain 068.47
12 Steady  Japan 067.94
13 Steady  South Africa 064.50
14 Steady  Russia 061.10
15 Increase4  Hong Kong 059.25
16 Steady  Fiji 058.33
17 Steady  Netherlands 058.27
18 Steady  Samoa 058.01
19 Increase1  Sweden 057.73
20 Decrease5  Kazakhstan 057.09
*Change from the previous week

They have an 85 per cent winning record in Test match rugby, and are the only women's international side with a winning record against every opponent. Since their official international debut in 1990, the Black Ferns have lost to only four of the sixteen nations they have played against.[a] They have never been ranked lower than second in the World Rankings since its introduction in 2003. The team performs a Haka before every match; this is a Māori challenge or posture dance. Traditionally the Black Ferns use the Haka Ko Uhia Mai until the present year.

HistoryEdit

Women's rugby in New Zealand was rising in the late eighties, but recognition and assistance from New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) wasn't available.[3][4] It wasn't until 1989 that women's rugby started to get official recognition with the organisation of matches by provinces and clubs.[3][4] On July 22 that year, New Zealand fielded their first women's rugby union team against a touring United States side, the California Grizzlies.[5][4]

Team's nameEdit

The team's name refers to the Mamaku, the black tree fern, which is a taonga (treasure) of Aotearoa. It also aligns with the colour black and the silver fern, which are iconic New Zealand sporting symbols. For example, the All Blacks is New Zealand's men's rugby team, the Black Caps is the men's cricket team, the White Ferns is the women's cricket team, while the Silver Ferns is the women's netball team.

World Cup winsEdit

The Black Ferns have participated in most Rugby World Cup events since its inauguration in 1991, only missing the 1994 championship in Scotland. Starting with the inaugural International Rugby Board (IRB)-sponsored tournament in 1998, the Black Ferns have gone on to win five more titles — including the 2002, 2006, 2010, 2017, and the 2021 tournament which was hosted in New Zealand.[6][7]

FundingEdit

While rugby is the most popular spectator game in New Zealand, the Black Ferns have suffered in the past from similar problems to any women's sport: under-funding, lack of support and lack of publicity. While the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and World Rugby have been criticised to an extent for not doing more to promote women's rugby, support is beginning to improve in those organisations, in large part due to the Ferns' successes.

The NZRU started funding the Black Ferns in 1995, therefore giving a great boost to their game, while the Black Ferns have benefitted from being included in NZRU High Performance initiatives. Along with professional coaches, the team has had access to professional development resources such as analysis. In more recent times, the team's profile has risen greatly at a grassroots level, due in great part to their string of successes, and it is increasingly seen to be a national team on the same basis as any other.

Provincial championshipEdit

In January 2010, the Women's Provincial Championship (WPC) came under severe threat after the NZRU announced that it would be shut down due to budget cuts. As the championship was a prime builder of training, skill and competition for New Zealand women's rugby, the decision was a shock for players and supporters, including former captain Farah Palmer - especially since it was a World Cup year.[8]

While NZRU said women's domestic rugby was one of many victims of the tight financial times, they faced widespread criticism for their decision. After the Black Ferns' 2010 World Cup victory, the NZRU immediately apologised and reinstated the WPC, which was renamed the Farah Palmer Cup in 2016 in honour of the Black Ferns' influential former captain.

International competitionsEdit

The Black Ferns have also won the Canada Cup in 1996, 2000, and 2005, and the Churchill Cup in 2004. From 2002 until their last game of 2009, the Black Ferns enjoyed a streak of 24 consecutive test match wins.

In 2018, after the success of the New Zealand women's national rugby sevens team, all Sevens and Black Ferns players have been offered semi-professional contracts. They also played the first Test series against Australian Wallaroos, which was played on the same night as the Men's Bledisloe Cup Tests.

The 2018 season finished with a 1–1 drawn series against France, with France becoming only the fourth team in the world to beat the Black Ferns. The Black Ferns' loss in the final game of the year ended a 17-month long winning streak and was also the final game for captain Fa’amausili, who retired from international rugby.[9]

In 2019, the Black Ferns won the annual Women's Rugby Super Series for the second time. On 31 October 2021, the Black Ferns played their 100th test match against England at Exeter.[10][11] They hosted the 2022 Pacific Four Series and won their first title after going undefeated in the series.[12][13]

New Zealand hosted the delayed 2021 Rugby World Cup after beating out neighbour Australia for the rights.[14] New Zealand automatically qualified for the 2021 event as host.

HakaEdit

The Black Ferns perform a haka (a Māori challenge) before every international match. Until the present year, the Black Ferns performed the haka Ko Uhia Mai, specially composed by the respected Māori rugby leader, Te Whetū Tipiwai.

RecordEdit

The first four games listed below – played at RugbyFest 1990 – are not generally accepted as being internationals by New Zealand authorities. However, in men's rugby it is general practice to award full international status to any games where ONE side considers a game to be an international. As a result all games in that tournament have been treated as full internationals in this article.

OverallEdit

(Full internationals only, updated to 13 November 2022)

Rugby: New Zealand Internationals From 1991
Opponent Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Win %
  Australia 23 23 0 0 849 175 100%
  Canada 16 16 0 0 647 133 100%
  England 30 19 1 10 679 490 63.33%
  France 10 6 0 4 306 163 60.00%
  Germany 2 2 0 0 251 6 100%
  Hong Kong 1 1 0 0 121 0 100%
  Ireland 2 1 0 1 52 25 50%
  Japan 1 1 0 0 95 12 100%
  Kazakhstan 1 1 0 0 79 5 100%
  Samoa 2 2 0 0 140 12 100%
  Scotland 4 4 0 0 184 9 100%
  South Africa 1 1 0 0 55 3 100%
  Spain 1 1 0 0 46 3 100%
  United States 13 12 0 1 606 78 92.31%
  Wales 6 6 0 0 283 48 100%
World XV 2 2 0 0 75 19 100%
Summary 115 98 1 16 4,468 1,181 85.22%

Rugby World CupEdit

Rugby World Cup
Year Round Pld W D L PF PA Squad
  1991 Third place* 3 2 0 1 48 21 Squad
  1994 Did not participate due to late tournament cancellation
  1998 Champions 5 5 0 0 344 32 Squad
  2002 Champions 4 4 0 0 202 12 Squad
  2006 Champions 5 5 0 0 202 34 Squad
  2010 Champions 5 5 0 0 186 33 Squad
  2014 Fifth place 5 4 0 1 245 37 Squad
  2017 Champions 5 5 0 0 299 61 Squad
  2021 Champions 6 6 0 0 268 87 Squad
  2025 Qualified
  2029 TBD
  2033
Total Champions 38 36 0 2 1,794 317 Squad
  Champion   Runner-up   Third place   Fourth place
* Tied placing Best placing Home venue

New Zealand have won the World Cup six times. They lost to eventual winners the United States in the semi-final of the inaugural competition held in Wales in 1991, but were absent from the following tournament in 1994, due to the late cancellation of the event. They defeated the United States in the final of the 1998 World Cup held in the Netherlands to claim their maiden title. They followed this up with three more consecutive titles, overcoming England in the final of the next three editions; 2002, 2006 and 2010, as well as in their fifth world title in 2017. They won their sixth World Title after defeating England 34-31 in the 2021 Rugby World Cup Grand Final.

In the 2014 Rugby World Cup, they lost a pool game to Ireland,[15] while the top two teams in another pool drew their match. This saw them miss out on the semi-finals by a single table point, before going on to heavily defeat Wales and the United States to finish the tournament in fifth.

PlayersEdit

Current SquadEdit

32-Player Squad for the 2021 Rugby World Cup, hosted in New Zealand for the first time. Grace Brooker, Kaipo Olsen-Baker, and Aleisha Pearl Nelson were unavailable for selection due to injury.[16]

Caps Updated To: 13 November 2022

Player Position Caps Super Club Province Age
Luka Connor Hooker 14 Chiefs Manawa Bay of Plenty 26
Natalie Delamere Hooker 3 Matatū Bay of Plenty 25
Georgia Ponsonby Hooker 13 Matatū Canterbury 22
Tanya Kalounivale Prop 6 Chiefs Manawa Waikato 23
Pip Love Prop 25 Matatū Canterbury 32
Krystal Murray Prop 9 Blues Northland 29
Amy Rule Prop 12 Matatū Canterbury 22
Awhina Tangen-Wainohu Prop 4 Chiefs Manawa Waikato 24
Santo Taumata Prop 7 Chiefs Manawa Bay of Plenty 19
Chelsea Bremner Lock 12 Matatū Canterbury 27
Joanah Ngan-Woo Lock 17 Hurricanes Poua Wellington 26
Maiakawanakaulani Roos Lock 14 Blues Auckland 21
Alana Bremner Loose Forward 13 Matatū Canterbury 25
Sarah Hirini Loose Forward 17 Hurricanes Poua Manawatu 29
Charmaine McMenamin Loose Forward 31 Blues Auckland 32
Liana Mikaele-Tu'u Loose Forward 11 Blues Auckland 20
Kendra Reynolds Loose Forward 9 Matatū Bay of Plenty 29
Kennedy Simon (cc) Loose Forward 13 Chiefs Manawa Waikato 25
Ariana Bayler Halfback 9 Chiefs Manawa Waikato 25
Kendra Cocksedge Halfback 68 Matatū Canterbury 34
Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu Halfback 11 Chiefs Manawa Counties Manukau 30
Ruahei Demant (cc) First Five-Eighth 27 Blues Auckland 27
Hazel Tubic First Five-Eighth 23 Chiefs Manawa Counties Manukau 31
Sylvia Brunt Midfielder 7 Auckland 18
Amy du Plessis Midfielder 7 Matatū Canterbury 23
Theresa Fitzpatrick Midfielder 18 Blues Auckland 27
Stacey Fluhler Midfielder 25 Chiefs Manawa Waikato 26
Ayesha Leti-I'iga Wing 21 Hurricanes Poua Wellington 23
Ruby Tui Wing 10 Chiefs Manawa Counties Manukau 30
Renee Wickliffe Wing 46 Chiefs Manawa Bay of Plenty 35
Portia Woodman Wing 24 Chiefs Manawa Northland 31
Renee Holmes Fullback 10 Matatū Waikato 22

Notable playersEdit

Four former Black Ferns have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame: Farah Palmer, Anna Richards, Huriana Manuel-Carpenter and Fiao'o Fa'amausili.[17]

Farah Palmer won three Women's Rugby World Cups, in 1998, 2002 and 2006.[18] During her captaincy from 1997 to 2006, the Black Ferns lost only once. Palmer made her international debut against Australia in August 1996. She earned 35 caps, making her the fifth-most capped Black Ferns player. Palmer was awarded the IRB International Women's Personality of the Year in 2005. For the 5th Women's Rugby World Cup in Canada, Palmer fought her way back into the team and again led them to World Cup victory. After the win, she announced her retirement from the Black Ferns in September 2006.[19] The national provincial women's competition in New Zealand is named in her honour in recognition of her contribution to the game.[20] She was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in October 2014.[21]

Anna Richards was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in October 2014 along with Palmer.[22] She won 49 caps for the Black Ferns in a career that spanned two decades, from 1990 to 2010.[23][22] She played in the inaugural 1991 World Cup when New Zealand lost in the semi-finals.[23] Richards is also a four-time Women's Rugby World Cup winner – 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010; she played in every final.[24]

Huriana Manuel-Carpenter represented New Zealand in both sevens and 15s.[25] In 2013, she captained the Black Ferns sevens side when they won the inaugural Women's Sevens Series title and the Sevens World Cup. She was also captain when the side successfully defended the series title in 2014.[26][27] She won a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games. Manuel-Carpenter is also a two-time Rugby World Cup winner – 2006 and 2010.[26][27] Between 2005 and 2014 she scored 15 tries from 25 test appearances.[26] She is part of the first mother-and-daughter duo to have played for the Black Ferns.[27][25] She was inducted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame in October 2021.[28]

Fiao'o Fa'amausili was the most capped Black Fern at the time of her retirement in 2018. She recorded 50 wins from 58 games with 35 tests as captain. She scored 17 tries, the most by a forward, and won four World Cups out of the five that she has attended.[17]

Previous squadsEdit

CoachesEdit

All Head Coaches of the Black Ferns (1990–Present). Every Black Fern coach has been a New Zealander.

Name Years Tests Won Drew Lost Win %
Laurie O'Reilly 1990–1991 6 5 0 1 83.33%
Vicky Dombroski 1994–1995 2 2 0 0 100%
Darryl Suasua 1996–2002 23 22 0 1 95.65%
Jed Rowlands 2003–2006 15 15 0 0 100%
Dale Atkins 2007–2008 4 4 0 0 100%
Brian Evans 2009–2010 20 18 0 2 90%
2012–2014
Grant Hansen 2011 3 0 1 2 0%
Greg Smith[b] 2014–2015 0 0 0 0 0%
Glenn Moore 2015–2022 33 26 0 7 78.78%
Wayne Smith 2022 12 12 0 0 100%
Total 115 98 1 16 85.22%

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Curtin, Jennifer (2016). "Before the 'Black Ferns': Tracing the Beginnings of Women's Rugby in New Zealand". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 33 (17): 2071–2085. doi:10.1080/09523367.2017.1329201. S2CID 148962837.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ They are England, France, Ireland and United States.
  2. ^ Smith voluntarily stepped down as Black Ferns Head coach without a single game.[29][30]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Women's World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Sport, Fitness and Leisure". New Zealand Official Yearbook. Statistics New Zealand. 2000. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2008. Traditionally New Zealanders have excelled in rugby union, which is regarded as the national sport, and track and field athletics.
  3. ^ a b Palmer, Farah (10 October 2013). "Opinion: Thanks JJ Stewart, and thanks Otago Spirit". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Harvey, Helen (10 May 2019). "Women's rugby: From hand-me-down jerseys to professional contracts". Stuff. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  5. ^ "31 years since first official New Zealand women's team took to the field". allblacks.com. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Julian, Adam (8 November 2022). "A look back at Rugby World Cup finals history". allblacks.com. Retrieved 5 December 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Julian, Adam (12 November 2022). "Black Ferns crowned Rugby World Cup champions". allblacks.com. Retrieved 5 December 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Cleaver, Dylan (23 January 2010). "Rugby: NZRU plan 'will kill women's rugby'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Black Ferns fall to France in second test". Newshub. 18 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Black Ferns set to play historic 100th Test match". allblacks.com. 30 September 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  11. ^ Pearson, Joseph (31 October 2021). "Milestone match ends with heaviest defeat in history as Black Ferns lose 100th test against England". Stuff. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Black Ferns win Pacific Four". Otago Daily Times Online News. 18 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  13. ^ "New Zealand win the Pacific Four Series 2022". www.world.rugby. 18 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  14. ^ "New Zealand to host 2021 Women's World Cup". The New Zealand Herald. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Women's Rugby World Cup: Ireland stun New Zealand". BBC. 5 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Black Ferns squad locked in for Rugby World Cup". allblacks.com. 13 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ a b Julian, Adam (9 November 2022). "Fa'amausili on Hall of Fame induction and the Rugby World Cup". allblacks.com. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  18. ^ "Palmer leads by example in New Zealand". www.world.rugby. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Farah Palmer announces retirement". Archived from the original on 28 October 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2006.
  20. ^ "About the Farah Palmer Cup". Provincial Rugby. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Farah Palmer - World Rugby - Hall of Fame". www.world.rugby. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  22. ^ a b Piddington, Stu (18 November 2014). "Anna Richards inducted to IRB's Hall of Fame". Stuff. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  23. ^ a b "Anna Richards: "I don't want to put a limit, you've got to dream"". www.world.rugby. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  24. ^ "Hall of Fame award a boost for women's rugby, says Anna Richards". South China Morning Post. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Huriana Manuel-Carpenter inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". RNZ. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  26. ^ a b c "Multi World Cup winner Huriana Manuel-Carpenter inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". Stuff. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  27. ^ a b c "Huriana Manuel-Carpenter to be inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame". allblacks.com. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Huriana Manuel-Carpenter - World Rugby - Hall of Fame". www.world.rugby. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  29. ^ Davis, Hanne (16 August 2015). "New Zealand Rugby confirm Greg Smith won't return as Black Ferns coach". Stuff. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  30. ^ Davis, Hanne (16 June 2015). "Greg Smith voluntarily stands down for Black Ferns tour of Canada over ref abuse". Stuff. Retrieved 8 February 2022.

External linksEdit