New Zealand's hopes of a fourth successive Women's Rugby
World Cup title have been dealt a blow with the news that utility
back Amiria Rule has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee
Rule (nee Marsh), who is comfortable at inside and outside centre as well as full back, was one of the stars of the 2006 World Cup in Canada and scored a try late in the final against England to secure a third straight title for New Zealand.
Follow @rwcwomens on Twitter and join the conversation>>
Join the Women's RWC Facebook page>>
The 27-year-old had worked hard to make the Black Ferns squad after suffering a serious knee injury earlier in the year, but will now miss out on her third appearance on the Women's Rugby World Cup stage.
Her place will be taken by 45-year-old fly half Anna Richards, the most capped player in Black Ferns history with 44 tests who has been a key figure in New Zealand's three successive World Cup wins.
"Amiria is understandably very disappointed and we all feel for her, as we know how hard she has worked to get to her third World Cup," admitted Black Ferns coach Brian Evans.
"We are lucky enough to have someone of Anna's experience step up, for what will be her fourth Women's Rugby World Cup."
New Zealand will face an improving South Africa on the opening day of the World Cup on 20 August, before tackling Australia four days later and then Wales on 28 August with only the Pool A winner guaranteed a spot in the semi finals.