The first ever women’s Super Rugby match will take place next Saturday at Eden Park, with the Blues hosting the Chiefs. It will be played before the Round 10 Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa match between their male counterparts.
Both squads have been named, with a full training week to begin on Monday as they build towards Saturday afternoon’s clash.
A raft of Black Ferns have been named, including leaders Eloise Blackwell, Les Elder, Charmaine McMenamin and Chelsea Alley, as well as emerging stars Patricia Maliepo, Maia Roos and Kelsey Teneti.
Roos, who plays lock for Auckland in the Farah Palmer Cup, has been named in the Blues squad and said it’s a proud moment for her and her family.
She said the match is a step in the right direction for the growth in the women’s game. Roos grew up watching the likes of George Moala, who she has always looked up to.
“He’s from my college and my community in Glen Innes, so seeing him make it is really cool.”
Loose forward Kennedy Simon is one of 12 Black Ferns in the Chiefs squad. She said she’s excited to be part of what will hopefully be the next big step for women’s rugby in this country.
“When I was little, I would go to Chiefs games with my Grandad, and we would be in the ambiance of it all. I can’t wait to pull on the strip and be called a Chiefs women’s player.”
The Chiefs have a couple of trainings under their belts and Simon said they’ve come together naturally as a group under the leadership of Alley and Elder.
Watching the likes of Carlos Spencer and Jonah Lomu carve up for the Blues are special memories for winger Natahlia Moors. She used to sit down with her Dad and watch them play, remembering Jonah running down the left wing bumping everyone off.
It was a pretty special moment for Moors when she told her family she would be part of the first ever Super Rugby women’s match.
“My whole family live in Australia so I made the call to them. It was super cool, they were excited and stoked for me. I think it’s something all girls want to be able to achieve, especially with how big Super Rugby is in New Zealand.
“To be in the first game is totally awesome and I’m hoping my Nana can come. She is a bit sick at the moment and she is someone I really want to come and watch from Brisbane. Fingers crossed if the borders stay open.”
The Blues will be coached by new Auckland Storm coach Willie Walker. He’ll have the help of Northland Kauri coach Cheryl Smith and the legendary Anna Richards.
Counties Manukau Heat coach Chad Shepherd will be in charge of the Chiefs, alongside Mike Rogers, Latoya Mason and James Semple.
Make sure you get your tickets to the historic match at Eden Park. Children are free with a General Admission ticketholder which costs as little as $20. Get your tickets HERE.
Blues: Saphire Abraham (Auckland), Eloise Blackwell (Auckland), Aldora Itunu (Auckland), Shannon Leota (Auckland), Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland), Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (Auckland), Lisa Molia (Auckland), Aleisha Nelson (Auckland), Cilia-Marie Po’e (Auckland), Maia Roos (Auckland), Cristo Tofa (Auckland), Tenaija Fletcher (North Harbour), Kate Williams (North Harbour), Krystal Murray (Northland), TK Ngata Aerengamate (Northland) Sylvia Brunt (Auckland), Moana Cook (Auckland), Ruahei Demant (Auckland), Princess Elliot (Auckland), Patricia Maliepo (Auckland), Natahlia Moors (Auckland), Daynah Nankivell (Auckland), Luisa Togotogorua (Auckland), Hayley Hutana (North Harbour), Tyler Nankivell (Northland) Stacey Tupe (Northland).
Chiefs: Angel Mulu (Bay of Plenty) Ariana Bayler (Waikato) Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Counties Manukau) Chelsea Alley (Waikato) Chyna Hohepa (Waikato) Emily Kitson (Counties Manukau) Grace Houpapa-Barrett (Waikato) Harono Te Iringa (Counties Manukau) Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau) Iritana Hohiaia (Taranaki) JayJay Taylor (Bay of Plenty) Kelsey Teneti (Waikato) Kelsie Wills (Bay of Plenty) Kendra Reynolds (Bay of Plenty) Kennedy Simon (Waikato) Langi Veainu (Counties Manukau) Les Elder (Bay of Plenty) Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty) Mia Anderson (Waikato) Ngatokotoru Arakua (Counties Manukau) Paige Neilson (Taranaki) Pia Tapsell (Bay of Plenty) Rebecca Burch (Counties Manukau) Renee Holmes (Waikato) Shyanne Thompson (Counties Manukau) Stephanie Lualua (Waikato) Tachelle Gardiner (Taranaki) Tanya Kalounivale (Waikato) Waikohika Flesher (Counties Manukau)
Blues v Chiefs women
Saturday 1 May, 4:35pm