31 years since first official New Zealand women’s team took to the field

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The match was a curtain raiser to Canterbury’s match against Argentina and the New Zealand side came away with a 13-7 victory.


The team was coached by Laurie O’Reilly, whose name is on the trophy the Black Ferns and Wallaroos currently play for every year. O’Reilly was effectively called the “godfather” of women’s rugby in New Zealand.


New Zealand journalist Heather Kidd attended the match in 1989 for Rugby News. Check out some of the newspaper clippings from the game.




O’Reilly was quoted afterwards by saying “we could have waited 20 years for this fixture. But there’s no turning back now.”


The main image shows New Zealand flanker Nina Sio getting away from Californian halfback Deb Dennis.


Images & information Credit: Ron Palenski



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