Rugby: Lesley Elder named new Black Ferns captain

Loose forward Lesley Elder has been appointed the new captain of the Black Ferns, as part of a fresh-faced squad for their 2019 international campaign.

The 32-year-old Elder will take the reins, after the retirement of Fiao'o Fa'amausili. NZ Rugby Player of the Year Kendra Cocksedge and wing Selica Winiata have been named co-vice captains.

The Bay of Plenty representative has played 13 tests for New Zealand since her debut in 2015 and was part of the World Cup-winning team in 2017.

A product of King Country's Taumarunui, Elder admitted she was taken aback, when she was informed of her promotion.

"I was actually quite shocked," Elder told Newshub. "I didn't see it coming.

"For me, it's just about following the stuff that Fi [Fa'amausili] and a lot of the other leaders from the past have created."

Elder welcomes the extra responsibility that comes with captaincy and believes it will help her improve her game.

"I'm the type of person who does like to challenge herself.

"I've got a group of awesome leaders around me, so I've got a good support network there

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore believes Elder is a natural leader, with an innate sense for the game.

"On the field, [Elder] is uncompromising and her knowledge of the game is outstanding," said Moore.

"Off the field, she has the ability to bring players together and bring out the best in them. She is a clear communicator, setting high standards for herself and others to follow."

Moore has named 10 new potential debutants in his squad for their upcoming season, which includes tests against Canada, USA, France and England in the United States, and a Bledisloe Cup doubleheader with the All Blacks against Australia at Eden Park.