It’s been an impressive season for a number of reasons. Number one of course, fans have been able to watch every single game live thanks to Sky Sport NZ who have broadcasted the competition in its entirety for the first time.
Two. Teenagers have been making a name for themselves right across the FPC. 17 year-old’s carving it up everywhere. Canterbury’s Jorja Miller who starred at last year’s Red Bull Ignite7. Hawke’s Bay’s Harmony Kautai and Auckland’s Sylvia Brunt just to name a few.
And three. Competition for Black Ferns spots have never been tougher. The likes of Northland prop Krystal Murray, Canterbury front-rower Amy Rule and Auckland lock Maiakawanakaulani Roos must be regular names thrown about in selection conversations, while recent debutants Amy du Plessis, Kendra Reynolds and Grace Steinmetz have all been impressive.
We can’t forget the go-to Black Ferns either. They continue to put their hands up and their experience and class shine through at FPC level. Kendra Cocksedge recently became the competition’s leading points’ scorer. Hazel Tubic has played well for the Counties Manukau Heat, while Kennedy Simon and Grace Brooker have had outstanding seasons so far.
The current break in the Farah Palmer Cup has given us a time to reflect on the talent that’s on show in New Zealand rugby at the moment.
Four-time defending champions’ Canterbury currently top the Premiership table, seven points clear of Waikato, with Auckland (14) and Counties Manukau (11) rounding out the top four.
In the Championship, Manawatū lead on 20, with Northland behind on 15. Hawke’s Bay and North Harbour are tied on 11 points apiece. It’s great to see North Harbour back in the winners’ circle after a tough season in 2020 and some key personnel moving on.
With a Black Ferns’ end of year tour to England and France locked-in, there is still plenty to play for in the remainder of the Farah Palmer Cup. Test spots up for grabs and a Rugby World Cup on home soil just around the corner.
More will be known about how the rest of the competition, including the Bunnings NPC and Heartland Championship, will play out after this Friday’s [NZT] government announcement. This weekend's matches have already been postponed.