Coach: Wes Clarke
Assistant coaches: Victoria Grant & Fusi Feaunati
Captain: Sarah Hirini
PLAYER TO WATCH
Although there are several capped Black Ferns among the Hurricanes Poua ranks, blockbusting No.8 Kaipo Olsen-Baker shapes us one player who could take the tournament by storm. Olsen-Baker had a breakout season for the Manawatū Cyclones as an 18-year-old in 2020 which culminated in selection for the NZ Barbarians to take on the Black Ferns. Her rise was stymied in 2021 when an ACL injured ruled her out of the entire Farah Palmer Cup. Olsen-Baker said she was stoked to make the Poua squad despite missing the Manawatū Cyclones Championship winning campaign in 2021. “I was injured the whole year so when [coach] Wesley [Clarke] rang me and told me I made it, I wanted to cry because rugby has been a huge part of my life. Super grateful. This means so much to me.”
Much like their male counterparts, the Poua backline is stacked with x-factor ability and game-breaking talent. Flying wings Ayesha Leti’I’iga and Lyric Faleafaga have developed a dynamic connection for the Wellington Pride and will be even more potent with former Black Ferns speedster Selicia Winiata slotting in at fullback. Cyclones centre Janna Vaughan is another dynamic player who will provide some real punch to the midfield.
The Poua will be led by legendary Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini in 2022. The Manawatū loose forward led the Black Ferns Sevens to Olympic gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, was Sevens World Champion in 2013 and 2018, is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and six-time World Series winner. Hirini said she is excited to lead the Hurricanes Poua in their historic first season. “It’s a huge honour to be named captain of the Hurricanes Poua. I'm so grateful to play for the region I grew up in and the club I’ve supported for a very long time, alongside some really talented women.” For us, playing for the Hurricanes Poua is a dream come true. We get to represent our provinces and our wider region of the Hurricanes, so we would love for the region to get behind us, to back us, to support us,” Hirini said.
Amanda Rasch (Wellington), Ana Afuie (Wellington), Ayesha Leti-I’iga (Wellington), Carys Dallinger (Manawatū), Cheyelle Robins-Reti (Waikato), Esther Tilo-Faiaoga (Waikato), Iritana Hohaia (Taranaki), Isadora Leio-Laupola (Wellington), Jackie Patea-Fereti (Wellington), Janna Vaughan (Manawatū), Jayme Nuku (Manawatū), Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington), Kahurangi Sturmey (Manawatū), Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Manawatū), Kanyon Paul, Kat Brown (Hawke’s Bay), Layla Sae (Manawatū), Leilani Perese, Marilyn Live (Manawatū), Monica Tagoai (Wellington), Ngano Tavake (Manawatū), Rachael Rakatau (Manawatū), Rangimarie Sturmey (Manawatū), Rhiarna Ferris (Manawatū), Saphire Abraham (Auckland), Sarah Hirini (Manawatū), Selica Winiata (Manawatū), Teilah Ferguson (Otago), Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (Northland)
R1 - Hurricanes Poua v Blues - Thursday 10 March, 3.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
R2 - Hurricanes Poua v Chiefs Manawa - Tuesday 15 March, 3.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
R3 - Hurricanes Poua v Matatū - Sunday 20 March, 5.05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato