Manawatū Cyclones: PREVIEW 2020

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Position in 2019

7th in Premiership


Talking points

Black Ferns Sevens skipper Sarah Hirini (nee Goss) will add to her 13 games for the Cyclones this season and she’ll do it alongside her sister Rachael Rakatau (nee Goss). Hirini made her Cyclones debut in 2011 but hasn’t played for her province in the 15s game since 2013, due to her Sevens commitments. Rakatau has played six games for Manawatū and was named forward of the year in her debut season in 2018. She missed last year’s Farah Palmer Cup because she was pregnant.   


Fellow Black Ferns Sevens player Rhiarna Ferris also joins Manawatū, having made her international debut last season. She has 10 Cyclones games to her name, having played on the wing, loose forward and lock.


Black Ferns fullback Selica Winiata will again feature for the Cyclones and is approaching 90 games for the side. Winiata is also the top Farah Palmer Cup try scorer of all time, sitting on 68. She’ll be joined by former Black Ferns Janna Vaughan and Sosoli Talawadua and Manu Sina captain Marilyn Live.


Manawatū will be celebrating a special milestone this season. This year marks 40 years since the first women’s interprovincial match in New Zealand, which was played between Manawatū and Hawke’s Bay on September 14, 1980 in Palmerston North. The two sides play off for the Attenborough-McBeth Cup each season. The cup is named after the coaches of each team on that day, Rangi and John, respectively. On that day, Helen McCall was the Cyclones captain and her daughter, Nicole Dickins played for Manawatū until 2018. The Cyclones take on the Hawke’s Bay Tui on Saturday 17 October in Napier.



Incoming players

Sarah Hirini (Black Ferns Sevens), Rhiarna Ferris (Black Ferns Sevens), Caterina Poletti (Taranaki), Vaine Greig (former NZ Sevens, unavailable last season), Alesha Williams (Taranaki), Taylor Waterson (Australia)


Outgoing players

Kristina Sue, Kahli Tipene (pregnant), Nicci Kuiti, Shanna Solomon, Mahalia Polson, Jessica Fagan-Pease (injured)


Player to watch: Kalyn Takitimu-Cook

20 year-old Kalyn Takitimu-Cook credits teammate and former Black Fern Janna Vaughan for introducing her to rugby. The young utility back has already represented New Zealand in Sevens at the Youth Olympics in Argentina in 2018. The former Manukura student is a hard worker and has the skills to go all the way. She’s certainly one to watch in 2020.


Manawatu Cyclones squad

Lauren Balsillie, Lucy Brown, Laura Claridge, Carys Dallinger, Katelyn Donaldson, Rhiarna Ferris, Vaine Greig, Sarah Hirini, Ashleigh Knight, Marilyn Live, Crystal Mayes, Lavenia Nauga-Grey, Jayme Nuku, Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Caterina Poletti, Rachael Rakatau, Layla Sae, Kahu Sturmey, Rangimarie Sturmey, Kayln Takitimu-Cook, Sosoli Talawadua, Ngano Tavake, Jashana Teawiri, Sam Tipene, Montel Vaiao Aki, Janna Vaughan, Kaia Walker-Waitoa, Taylor Waterson, Alesha Williams, Selica Winiata

Coaches: Fusi Feaunati (Head coach), Caleb Agnew-Jones (Assistant coach)



Manawatu Cyclones draw

Manawatu v Canterbury

Saturday 12 September

12pm Central Energy Trust Arena


Manawatu v Tasman

Sunday 20 September

11.35am Central Energy Trust Arena


Wellington v Manawatu

Friday 25 September

4.35pm Sky Stadium


Otago v Manawatu

Sunday 4 October

2.05pm Forsyth Barr Stadium


Manawatu BYE

Saturday 12 October


Hawke’s Bay v Manawatu

Saturday 17 October

2pm Tremain Field Napier



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