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Black Ferns look to extend streak

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/10/2016 Angelo Risso

Fiao'o Fa'amausili of New Zealand © David Rogers/Getty Images Fiao'o Fa'amausili of New Zealand The trans-Tasman battle between the Wallaroos and Black Ferns on Saturday is shaping up as a duel between the proven and the unknown.

New Zealand go into the Eden Park tussle with a tried-and-tested starting XV, naming just two debutants on the bench.

Skipper Fiao'o Fa'amausili will line up at hooker, while proven playmakers Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali and Kendra Cocksedge will guide the side around the park.

Australia, on the other hand, have named 12 uncapped players in their match-day squad as they look to beat New Zealand for the first time in 14 Tests.

Black Ferns halfback Cocksedge, who was her side's 2015 player of the year, told NZN her Test-hardened squad would look to get on top of their green opponents early.

However she expected the Wallaroos to provide a sense of unpredictability on Kiwi soil.

"They've got a lot of new girls and that's the unknown part, we don't know what they're going to be like," the 28-year-old Cocksedge said.

"Our experience, it obviously helps, so if we use it well and stick to our game plan we should go pretty well."

Wallaroos captain Ash Hewson said her side was chomping at the bit to run out onto the hallowed turf of Eden Park, but admitted they'd have to lift another notch if they are to beat the world's best.

The two sides will play before the All Blacks take on the Wallabies in the third Bledisloe, guaranteeing a large Auckland crowd.

"We've got the skill, the commitment, and we've had a good preparation to take it to them as best as possible," Hewson said.

"It'll definitely be a more physical game, you're playing the best team in the world, it's definitely going to be another level for the girls."

The Wallaroos warmed up for Saturday's encounter with a gritty 21-19 triumph over Auckland on Tuesday, clawing their way back from an 11-point deficit to win.

Hewson was encouraged by the showing.

"A lot of the girls aren't used to the physicality that the girls play with over here, and they didn't take a backward step," the veteran playmaker said.

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