Coaches kōrero: Farah Palmer Cup Week 3


This week, we catch up with Assistant coach John Haggart.


We’re heading into Round Four of the Farah Palmer Cup and there is a lot on the line as the top contenders push for finals spots.


Black Ferns Sevens players have added another level of professionalism and it’s a relief for Haggart that the Black Ferns coaching group now has their schedule locked in for later in the year, with a Probables v Possibles match confirmed alongside two matches between the Black Ferns and New Zealand Barbarians in November.


“It’s an exciting opportunity for us to watch the Farah Palmer Cup now knowing that we have a trial match and the two Barbarians games. So, we are watching for a purpose now and we know we have rugby ahead of us.”


Haggart said that while there have obviously been some blow outs so far in the competition, there have been some exciting matches.


“It’s been really impressive. The blow outs have come because of the North and South pools rather than Premiership and Championship so there has been some mismatches, but there has still been some wonderful tries and games.


“Coming back after lockdown, teams were probably a but short of a gallop when they first came into the competition, so I think we are just starting to see some sides hit their straps now. The likes of Canterbury, Counties and even the likes of Manawatu are starting to put their game together really well.”



As the Black Ferns backs and skills coach, Haggart has been thrilled to see how well the Sevens players have gone. He said their impact has been immense and they have really raised the standard of the Farah Palmer Cup.


“I recently spoke with Gayle Broughton about the presence that they have within the teams and all the girls look up to these contracted Sevens players. They have been in a professional environment and it’s not just what they do on the field, it’s their presence off the field as well. They are role models, and they go about their business and create a bit of a legacy for young women to follow.”


Black Ferns coaches connect in with the provincial unions and their coaches and players, keeping the connections open throughout the FPC and offering feedback. Haggart sticks to his southern region, while Wesley Clarke looks after central and Glenn Moore the northern region.


Haggart said despite some of the big score lines, players have been standing out in difficult situations.


“There are individuals within teams who have been well beaten, that are playing well. Every time they play, they are learning and for the women’s game to grow, they’ve got to continue to play in the Farah Palmer Cup. They have to make a few mistakes and learn from them. That’s the big challenge we’ve got, because a lot of players come out of a club season and then into an FPC comp that’s of high standard, but it’s exciting.”


Farah Palmer Cup: Round Four fixtures

Wellington Pride v Manawatu Cyclones

Friday 25 September

4.35pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Downer Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr



Tasman Mako v Otago Spirit

Saturday 26 September

11.35am, Trafalgar Park, Nelson 

Downer Referee: Jono Bredin



North Harbour Hibiscus v Auckland Storm*

Saturday 26 September

*Venue Change 1pm, Outer Oval, behind North Harbour Stadium

Downer Referee: Lauren Jenner


Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Taranaki Whio

Saturday 26 September

2pm, Blake Park, Mount Maunganui

Downer Referee: Larissa Collingwood



Hawke’s Bay Tui v Canterbury

Saturday 26 September

4.35pm, McLean Park, Napier

Downer Referee: Becs Mahoney



Counties Manukau Heat v Northland Kauri

Sunday 27 September

2.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe

Downer Referee: Nick Hogan




View all