Coach: Allan Bunting
Assistant coaches: Crystal Kaua, Rodney Gibbs
Captain: Les Elder
PLAYER TO WATCH
Maia Joseph. No one was surprised that halfback/first five-eighths Maia Joseph, a former captain of the NZ Under-18 Touch Rugby side, quickly made her mark in the women's game since her debut as an 18-year-old for the Otago Spirit in 2020. After that first taste, her game blossomed in 2021.
She worked hard on lifting her skill levels and so improved was her kicking from the base of rucks and scrums, she was regarded as one of its best exponents in the country. The daughter of former All Black Jamie Joseph, now Japan's coach, she thrived on performing against the country's best players and should relish the experience around her in the Manawa side.
The Manawa take some powerful advantages into the competition. Their core of players won the Farah Palmer Cup last season by beating Canterbury to end its four-year era of dominance. Their coach Allan Bunting has had a successful involvement with the Black Ferns Sevens while the experience in the side gives it cover in all positions.
There is a wealth of international experience spread throughout the squad. Should an impressive pack of forwards gain dominance up front in games, then a dangerous backline will be unleashed. At the outset of the competition, the Manawa look the complete unit.
Angel Mulu, Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, Grace Houpapa-Barrett, Jayjay Taylor, Luka Connor, Santo Taumata, Tanya Kalounivale, Chyna Hohepa, Harono Te Iringa, Kelsie Wills, Kennedy Simon, Les Elder, Pia Tapsell, Victoria Edmonds, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Hazel Tubic, Kelly Brazier, Maia Joseph, Mia Anderson, Carla Hohepa, Chelsea Semple (nee Alley), Stacey Fluhler, Georgia Daals, Langi Veainu, Portia Woodman, Renee Wickliffe, Ruby Tui, Mererangi Paul, Claudia Hobbs, Klee Begbie, Karli Faneva, Merania Paraone, Tynealle Fitzgerald
*All teams are subject to changes
R1 - Chiefs Manawa v Matatū - Thursday 10 March, 7.05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
R2 - Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes Poua - Tuesday 15 March, 3.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
R3 - Chiefs Manawa v Blues - Sunday 20 March, 7.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato