Kiana Takairangi is set to join brother Brad as a New Zealand international after being selected in a Kiwi Ferns squad to take on Fetu Samoa in a Pacific double-header at Mt Smart Stadium on June 22.
Takairangi, who starred at fullback for Cook Islands at the 2017 Women’s World Cup, was named in a 19-strong squad to be captained by ageless centre Honey Hireme.
The Sydney-based Takairangi was in the crowd at Mt Smart Stadium when her brother Brad, who plays for Parramatta, made his Kiwis debut in their opening World Cup match against Toa Samoa.
She will now wear the same jersey at the same venue against the same opposition after overcoming a serious leg injury sustained at the World Cup, which denied her the chance of a contract in last year’s inaugural Holden NRL Women’s Premiership.
A former star for Los Angeles Temptation in the Legends Football League, Takairangi is now playing for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and helped NSW City to victory in this month’s Harvey Norman Women’s National Championships final.
She will line up alongside players from last year’s Kiwi Ferns side, including Hireme, Apii Nicholls, Amber Kani, Annetta Nuuausala, Aeishaleigh Smalley, Raecene McGregor, Nita Maynard, Teuila Fotu-Moala, Georgia Hale and Raquel Anderson-Pitman.
Jules Newman (Mt Albert), Madison Bartlett and Charntay Poko (Richmond Rovers) are the other new faces.
“We’re really lucky to have that mix of leadership and young talent in the team,” Kiwi Ferns coach Justin Morgan said.
“The girls are eager to take the field again in the black and white and a lot of them are following on from last year’s triple header Test, which is a strength for us.
“The narrow loss to the Aussies still hurts and we know Samoa will come out firing, but we’ve got some great leaders who will bring that invaluable experience, coupled with exciting new debutantes, so we’ll be bringing our best game.
“We’re really looking forward to getting into camp and focusing all our efforts on the Test.”
Kiwi Ferns squad