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Kiwi Ferns shake off sickness ahead of Samoa clash

The Kiwi Ferns will have their full squad available for Saturday's match against Fetu Samoa, despite a bout of sickness spreading through the camp this week in Auckland.

A number of the New Zealand women missed parts of training this week due to cold or flu symptoms, with the illness hitting the forward group particularly hard due to a number of them rooming together.

Head coach Justin Morgan admitted it had caused some issues ahead of his first game in charge of the national team.

"I hadn't decided on the 17 that were going to take the field, so the sickness threw a little bit of a spanner in the works," Morgan said.

"I said to the girls on day one that part of the selection process is how well you train this week, so I had to take that into account.

"But we haven't had anyone not complete the sessions that I wanted them to complete.

"We just had to isolate a few of them and modify some of their trainings.

"A couple of the girls took a little bit longer than normal to get over it, but they got it early in the week which was good, and they have been able to complete the sessions in the back end.

"All the girls are fit and healthy now."

The match will see New Zealand and Samoa meet in a women's match for just the second time, with the Kiwi Ferns having won the previous encounter 26-4 at the 2008 Women's Rugby League World Cup.

It will also be the first time a Samoan women's team has played a Test since 2011.

Samoa prop Elianna Walton, who has previously represented both New South Wales and the Australian Jillaroos, said she expected plenty of support for her side at Mount Smart Stadium.

"There should be [a bit of blue in the crowd], most Samoans live here in Auckland," Walton said.

"[The reception] we had yesterday at the fan day was so awesome.

"It's a real honour to take the stage alongside a heavyweight nation like New Zealand and to try to compete.

"It's a good starting point for Samoa to compete on the world stage."

Meanwhile veteran Kiwi Ferns back Honey Hireme said her side was bracing for a torrid battle in the middle of the park, an area where Samoa boast a number of players with previous rep experience.

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Hireme said she and her teammates have a close relationship with a number of the Samoan players through playing together at club level or for the Kiwi Ferns in the past.

"A couple of the Fetu Samoa girls play in the Auckland competition here and have been Kiwi Ferns in the past, so we do know a few of their players," Hireme said

"We are expecting quite a big battle in the middle and we know that the Samoans are going to bring their physically and a bring presence there.

"We are prepared for that and ready for that."

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