McMenamin in run-on side

Gisborne’s Charmaine McMenamin has been named in the Black Ferns’ run-on side for the women’s rugby international against the USA at Soldier Field, Chicago, tomorrow.

The match is the first part of a Soldier Field rugby triple-header (see story below) that has a Saturday midday start, local time (6am tomorrow NZ time), continues three hours later with a men’s international between Ireland and Italy, and concludes at 6pm (midday tomorrow NZT) with the USA Eagles-Maori All Blacks match.

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore has selected one run-on debutante, 19-year-old left wing Ayesha Leti-I’iga, in the run-on side.

Twenty-year-old centre or wing Monica Tagoai will debut off the bench.

Former Porirua College sprint star Leti-I’iga had her first-class rugby debut with Wellington Pride as a 16-year-old in 2015.

She is inspired by the memory of her late mother, Mary Asolupe Leti-I’iga. Before every game she straps her wrist and writes her mother’s name on the tape.

Ayesha was 11 when her mother died in a motor accident at the age of 35.

Raised largely by grandparents, Ayesha was introduced to rugby by an aunt who played and coached the game.

This year she was top try-scorer in the Farah Palmer Cup (the women’s interprovincial competition). She was also women’s club player of the year in Wellington after she scored 41 tries in 13 club matches.

The Black Ferns last faced the USA in a 2017 World Cup semifinal that New Zealand won 45-12.

Moore said the Black Ferns were likely to face a much different side, with a host of new caps.

“We’re facing many unknowns but we do know they’ll be athletic, they’ll be physical and they’ll be fast, so we’ll have to be on top of our game.”

The Black Ferns play the USA in Chicago tomorrow at 6am (NZ time); France in Toulon, France, on Saturday, November 10, at 9am (NZT); and France in Grenoble, France, on Sunday, November 18, at 2.30am (NZT). All matches will be broadcast live on SKY Sport NZ.

Black Ferns squad members (test caps in brackets) are: 1 Phillipa Love (4), 2 Fiao’o Faamausili (54) captain, 3 Aldora Itunu (17), 4 Eloise Blackwell (34), 5 Charmaine Smith (18), 6 Charmaine McMenamin (16), 7 Les Elder (11), 8 Aroha Savage (30), 9 Kendra Cocksedge (44) vice-captain, 10 Ruahei Demant (2), 11 Ayesha Leti-I’iga, 12 Chelsea Alley (17), 13 Stacey Waaka (13), 14 Renee Wickliffe (32), 15 Selica Winiata (33). Reserves: 16 Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (22), 17 Leilani Perese (2), 18 Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (26), 19 Jackie Patea-Fereti (14), 20 Linda Itunu (37), 21 Kristina Sue (12), 22 Krysten Cottrell (2), 23 Monica Tagoai.

Gisborne’s Charmaine McMenamin has been named in the Black Ferns’ run-on side for the women’s rugby international against the USA at Soldier Field, Chicago, tomorrow.

The match is the first part of a Soldier Field rugby triple-header (see story below) that has a Saturday midday start, local time (6am tomorrow NZ time), continues three hours later with a men’s international between Ireland and Italy, and concludes at 6pm (midday tomorrow NZT) with the USA Eagles-Maori All Blacks match.

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore has selected one run-on debutante, 19-year-old left wing Ayesha Leti-I’iga, in the run-on side.

Twenty-year-old centre or wing Monica Tagoai will debut off the bench.

Former Porirua College sprint star Leti-I’iga had her first-class rugby debut with Wellington Pride as a 16-year-old in 2015.

She is inspired by the memory of her late mother, Mary Asolupe Leti-I’iga. Before every game she straps her wrist and writes her mother’s name on the tape.

Ayesha was 11 when her mother died in a motor accident at the age of 35.

Raised largely by grandparents, Ayesha was introduced to rugby by an aunt who played and coached the game.

This year she was top try-scorer in the Farah Palmer Cup (the women’s interprovincial competition). She was also women’s club player of the year in Wellington after she scored 41 tries in 13 club matches.

The Black Ferns last faced the USA in a 2017 World Cup semifinal that New Zealand won 45-12.

Moore said the Black Ferns were likely to face a much different side, with a host of new caps.

“We’re facing many unknowns but we do know they’ll be athletic, they’ll be physical and they’ll be fast, so we’ll have to be on top of our game.”

The Black Ferns play the USA in Chicago tomorrow at 6am (NZ time); France in Toulon, France, on Saturday, November 10, at 9am (NZT); and France in Grenoble, France, on Sunday, November 18, at 2.30am (NZT). All matches will be broadcast live on SKY Sport NZ.

Black Ferns squad members (test caps in brackets) are: 1 Phillipa Love (4), 2 Fiao’o Faamausili (54) captain, 3 Aldora Itunu (17), 4 Eloise Blackwell (34), 5 Charmaine Smith (18), 6 Charmaine McMenamin (16), 7 Les Elder (11), 8 Aroha Savage (30), 9 Kendra Cocksedge (44) vice-captain, 10 Ruahei Demant (2), 11 Ayesha Leti-I’iga, 12 Chelsea Alley (17), 13 Stacey Waaka (13), 14 Renee Wickliffe (32), 15 Selica Winiata (33). Reserves: 16 Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (22), 17 Leilani Perese (2), 18 Aleisha-Pearl Nelson (26), 19 Jackie Patea-Fereti (14), 20 Linda Itunu (37), 21 Kristina Sue (12), 22 Krysten Cottrell (2), 23 Monica Tagoai.

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