The Black Ferns will be pitted against their closest rivals in women’s rugby at a Super Series to be played in San Diego in June and July.
They’ll face tests against the United States, Canada, France and England in the round-robin tournament over 16 days.
New Zealand are currently top of the world rankings with England (second), Canada (third), France (fourth) and the USA (fifth) all chasing.
This will be the first time the Black Ferns have contested the Super Series, which has previously featured the USA, Canada, France and England.
Canada were the last Super Series winners in 2016, when they finished ahead of England.
The Black Ferns will open the series against Canada on June 29, before facing the USA three days later. Then they’ll play France on July 7, before ending the campaign eight days later against England, who they beat in the 2017 World Cup final in Ireland.
With the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup scheduled for New Zealand, NZ Rugby chief rugby officer Nigel Cass said the Super Series would be an important milestone in the build-up for the global tournament.
“These teams haven’t always had regular high-level competition, so it will be an important part of the build-up to 2021,” he said.
“The Super Series will showcase the best women’s rugby teams in the world in one tournament and it doesn’t get much better than that in a non-World Cup year.
“Last year, the Black Ferns played on American soil for the first time, in Chicago, and given the growth of rugby in North America, it’s becoming a more regular test-match destination for our teams.”
After the series, the Black Ferns are due to play the Wallaroos in a two-test series for the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy.
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