A number of current and former Black Ferns figured prominently in club finals. We have a look at who the best senior women’s club teams were around the country this season.
Hora Hora celebrated their centenary over the weekend of June 24-26 and their woman gave the club plenty to cheer about, winning the Rana Paraha Trophy for the 19th time. Hora Hora was unbeaten throughout the season. Their results were: Hokianga, 78-5, Moerewa, 48-7, Te Rarawa, 24-24, Kaikohe, 26-22, Moerewa, 73-7 (semi) and Te Rarawa, 36-12 (Final).
Charmaine Smith, a 2017 World Cup winning Black Fern, made an improbable return from a neck injury - the loose forward featuring prominently in the later part of the season.
Black Ferns first five-eighth Patricia Maliepo kicked a last-play penalty to help Marist win the Auckland Coleman Shield final 13-10 against Ponsonby. Marist was down for much of the match, resisting the rival pack which boasted Black Ferns' Cristo Tofa, Elosie Blackwell and Charmaine McMenamin. Nathalia Moors also played centre for Ponsonby.
Chris Coleman was a major sponsor and supporter of women’s rugby in the 90s who later served on the Auckland Rugby Board. Marist enjoyed their first success since 2019, also winning in 2017, 2012, 2003, 1999-01 and 1993 (shared).
Counties and North Harbour clubs also take part in the Coleman Shield. Manurewa made the semifinals and Albany Barbarians represented North Harbour.
The Hamilton Old Boys Huskies successfully defended their title with a 48-10 thrashing of Melville who were in the final for a fifth year in a row. There were no Black Ferns in the game but Black Ferns Sevens representative Montessa Tairakena featured on the wing for the unbeaten Huskies throughout the season. The Waikato competition features a healthy ten teams.
Bay of Plenty
Rangataua won the Toi Ohomai Baywide Premier Championship with a 26-12 victory over Waikite. The first half was genuinely competitive, but Waikite found themselves down 19-0, after two interceptions by wing Kiana Rae and a dramatic charge down try from halfback Sheinqua Taula.
Black Ferns flanker Les Elder was on the openside for Rangataua while fellow loose forward Pia Tapsell came off the bench.
Ranaguru and Waikite have both won four championships since 2013.
Clifton had lost the final every year since 2018, but ended that losing streak with a 28-5 victory over three-time champions Southern at the TSB Hub in Hāwera. Clifton was the lowest ranked qualifier heading into the final, but led 14-0 at halftime and maintained the momentum in the second half.
Clifton’s captain was Tiana Davison. In 2018 she became a gold medal recipient for New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, along with 2021 Black Ferns squad member Iritana Hohaia, who was playing for Southern.
Davison has a strong family connection with the club. Her father Justin is head coach and her mother is manager.
The combined Taratech team won the final 38-7 against Hastings Rugby Sports Club. Taratech won all nine matches in 2022 and were led by former Black Ferns' Emma Jensen and Krysten Cottrell. Halfback Jensen holds the record for most first class matches by a Kiwi female with 183, Cottrell, a five-time Black Fern, was the top points' scorer in the FPC last year. Taratech was a combination of the Taradale and Napier Tech clubs.
Feilding Old Boys Ōroua beat Kia Toa 20-5 in the Prue Christie Cup final. Former Black Ferns halfback Kristina Sue led the charge for Feilding Old Boys Ōroua who also won the competition in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Prue Christie was an avid promoter of the women’s game in the Manawatū working for the Union in an office role for several years.
Northern United won the Tia Passi Memorial Trophy final with a resounding 58-10 win over first-time finalists Marist St Pats. In a reversal of their two prior meetings this season, Norths led 27-5 at halftime and only conceded their second try on full time.
Former Black Ferns lock Sanita Levave won the Dawn Patelesio medal as player of the final and scored a try as did Te Kura Ngata-Aerengmate and Angel Mulu who both came off the bench. Another past national rep in the game was Norths’ openside Aimee Sutorius. The 43-year old had a blinder and coaches the team.
Monica Tagoai, recovering from injury, played a strong second half for the Scarlets and will be hoping to impress in the FPC to regain her Black Ferns spot. MSP fullback Thamsyn Newton scored two tries.
Nelson Marist beat Waimea Old Boys’ 24-19 in extra time of a thrilling decider at Trafalgar Park. The Marist and Waimea rivalry has continually produced close and exciting matches.
The winning try for Marist was scored by wing Vaiana-Maire Rima. Precious Auimatagi (an impressive hooker from Wellington) featured for Marist while openside Tamara Silcock will be one to watch for Tasman in the FPC.
Christchurch Football Club beat University 38-25 to win the championship for the 13th time since 1995. Christchurch is the club of newly capped Black Fern Lucy Anderson.
Anderson didn't feature in the final but Canterbury FPC player Lucy Jenkins was outstanding, scoring three tries. New Canterbury hooker Atlanta Lolohea dotted down twice and former Black Ferns hooker Steph Te Ohaere-Fox got on the score sheet too.
University didn’t die wondering however, with a try apiece to Marcelle Parkes, Stacey Niao, Nicole Purdom and Erana Te Moananui keeping the Viperettes in the fight. Flanker Parkes was capped five times for the Black Ferns in 2018 and 2019.
Dunedin Wāhine beat Big River Country 22-12 in the Premier final. Dunedin Wāhine are a part of the 151 year-old Sharks club and their win represents a changing of the guard in Otago where typically the senior competition has been dominated by University or Alhambra Union.
There were no Black Ferns in either roster but with two tries for Dunedin Wāhine, Oceana Campbell was one of nine players from her club selected in the Otago Spirit for the FPC.
Catch all the Farah Palmer Cup action live on Sky Sport from July 16 and on the Bunnings NPC social media channels.