Preview: Aupiki 2023 Final

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The first Super Rugby Aupiki final is a North Island, South Island battle and involves the only team to never lose in the competition and resurgent Matatū, who claimed their first-ever win this season.


Where: FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton 

When: Saturday, 2:05 pm

Officials: Nick Hogan (referee), Scott McKenzie and Cassie Watt (assistant referees), Aaron Paterson (TMO).

Stop the Maul

The Chiefs have scored a bundle of tries from the rolling maul and with the most accurate lineout in the competition, they are extremely good at securing possession. Black Ferns hooker Luka Connor has scored six tries while locks Chelsea Bremner and Kelsey Thwaites have combined to catch 32 lineouts. How does Matatū stop the maul? Alana Bremner and Cindy Nelles are two of the better stealers around so calculated contesting could reap rewards otherwise Matatū has to be disciplined and stay connected on defence.


The last match saw dramatic shifts in momentum with Matatu ahead 19-8 in as many minutes before conceding 38 unanswered points. Matatū finished with three successive tries. Both teams are close to unstoppable with quick ball. The Chiefs with their big, ball-carrying forwards often bully ahead and have lethal wingers to boot. Matatū is at their best when involving their quick, nimble outside backs and perhaps divorcing themselves from being over-structured. With 61 tackles in four games, Matatū loosie Lucy Jenkins is one to watch. Black Ferns co-captain Kennedy Simon is back from injury has been terrific for Manawa.

Previous Meetings

The two sides have played each other three times previously with Chiefs Manawa winning on each occasion. Before Aupiki started in 2022 the pair clashed in a televised pre-season fixture at Owen Delany Park, Taupō with Manawa prevailing 28-20. A few days later, they played at the same venue in the competition proper, and the Chiefs won a cliffhanger 17-15. This season the Chiefs won a shootout 46-38. 

Key Stats

Tries: Chiefs Manawa, 29-19

Carries: Chiefs Manawa, 478-350

Meters Carried: Chiefs Manawa, 3,117-2,613

Clean Breaks: Chiefs Manawa, 45-40

Defenders Beaten: Chiefs Manawa, 101-92

Offloads: Chiefs Manawa, 49-40

Lineouts: Chiefs Manawa, 83% to 75%

Scrums: Chiefs Manawa, 96% to 73%

Top Individual Try Scorer: Luka Connor (Chiefs Manawa) 6, Cheyelle Robins-Reti(Matatū) 4

Top Individual Points Scorer: Renee Holmes (Matatū) 36, Luka Connor (Chiefs Manawa), 30


Chiefs Manawa

Kate Henwood, Luka Connor, Tanya Kalounivale, Kelsie Thwaites, Chelsea Bremner, Charmaine Smith, Tynealle Fitzgerald, Kennedy Simon (C), Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Hazel Tubic, Georgia Daals, Azalleyah Maaka, Carla Hohepa, Mererangi Paul, Tenika Willison, Grace Houpapa-Barrett, Angel Mulu, Te Urupounamu McGarvey, Dhys Faleafaga, Victoria Makea, Violet Hapi-Wise, Abigail Roache, Olive Watherston


Pip Love, Georgia Ponsonby, Amy Rule, Emma Dermody, Cindy Nelles, Lucy Jenkins, Kendra Reynolds, Alana Bremner (C), Di Hiini, Rosie Kelly, Martha Mataele, Grace Brooker, Amy du Plessis, Cheyelle Robins-Reti, Renee Holmes, Natalie Delamere, Moomooga Palu, Steph Te-Ohaere Fox, Sera Naiqama, Marcelle Parkes, Georgia Cormick, Atlanta Lolohea, Charntay Poko


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