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Winiata bids for regular cup slot

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 01/05/2014
selica winiata
PHIL WALTER/Getty

BLACK FERNS: Manawatu fullback Selica Winiata, left, scoring the winning try against England last year in what was lauded as one of New Zealand rugby's tries of the year.

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Selica Winiata knows if she performs well for the Black Ferns next month, she could be a regular fixture at the World Cup this year.

The Manawatu fullback has been named in the Black Ferns squad for four tests in June and the World Cup in France in August, along with team-mates prop Ruth McKay and winger and midfielder Shakira Baker.

This is the final squad before the World Cup, so whoever plays well in the four tests against Canada, Australia and Samoa could make it into the starting World Cup team.

"I guess there's 26 of us and all of us want one of those starting positions," the 27-year-old said. "I'll try hard and play my best to try and cement that 15 jersey."

Because the Black Ferns don't have a lot of test matches, Winiata was pleased the team was getting more games together.

"The World Cup starts at the start of August. This gives us the chance to gel together and this will be a really good buildup."

The Black Ferns had their final training camp at the weekend and even though Winiata never assumes she will be selected, she said it was an honour to be part of the team's legacy again.

New Zealand play Australia in Rotorua on June 1, Samoa in Auckland on June 7,which is the curtainraiser to the All Blacks' test against England, Canada in Tauranga on June 10 and Canada again in Whakatane on June 14.

"I've never played Samoa and never played Canada in 15s. I've played Australia, but I'm not sure what they're going to be like.

"Every game's different, so we need to prepare well and we obviously have to play well.

"These teams could have some surprises and we don't want to be upset and lose."

Winiata has plenty on her plate, along with her work as a police officer, as she is back into sevens mode with a New Zealand training camp this weekend and the team to go to the final leg of the world series Amsterdam is named after that.

New Zealand are two points ahead of Australia on the world sevens standings, so this final tournament will decide it.

New Zealand have won two finals, beating Australia in China and Canada in Atlanta, and lost two finals, to Australia in Dubai and Brazil.

"This last tournament is pretty important for us to take out the world series," Winiata said.

"We need to win it. We can't take any games lightly, whoever makes it. We'll be doing our best."

The squad features three new caps - Wellington lock Sanita Levave, sevens and rugby league international Honey Hireme, of Waikato, and Counties Manukau hooker Te-Kura Ngata-Aerengamate.

There are 12 players from the World Cup-winning 2010 squad.

Hazel Tubic is injured and Victoria Grant, Vita Dryden and Karina Stowers are pregnant.

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- Manawatu Standard

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