I cautioned then that the FPC remained an amateur competition despite the injection of cash, and that still rings true as we begin the 2019 season.
But while the element of care and caution remains, the new season should also come with higher expectations of a step up in quality, skill level and competitiveness.
In the past two seasons, 19 players have made their debuts for the Black Ferns, touring to France, the United States and Australia. That is a huge amount of experience, information and good practice to take back to the unions and means players in their early 20s add to the layer of leadership within each team. The value in having vastly experienced players like Linda Itunu, Kristina Sue, Steph Te Ohaere Fox and Emma Jensen still turning out for their provinces can’t be understated.