13/04/2024

The Farah Palmer Cup gets underway this weekend. (Photo: Rugby World Cup)

This is the ultimate 2022 season preview guide to the highest level of domestic women's rugby union in New Zealand.

This is the ultimate 2022 season preview guide to the highest level of domestic women’s rugby union in New Zealand. Having not been played in two years due to COVID-19, all teams will be hoping to walk away with the cup.

Auckland Storm

(Photo: Auckland Rugby Union)

Auckland Storm are the most prolific winners of Farah Palmer Cup with 15 previous wins in the final. After a disappointing campaign last season where they finished fourth in the Premiership they will be hoping to show how good they normally are.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Magali Harvey, Abby Lockhart

Wing: Sam Curtis, Taylor Curtis, Elliot Princess, Natahlia Moors

Centre: Corina Nanai Vai, Nankivell Daynah

First Five: Sylvia Brunt

Halfback: Ruahei Demant, Patricia Maliepo, Luisa Togotogorua

Forwards:

Number 8: Charmaine McMenamin

Lock: Eloise Blackwell, Tafito Lafaele, Jennifer-Rose, Ross Maiakawanakaulani, Vineta Teutau

Loose Forward: Mele Hufunga, Shannon Leota, Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, Maama Vaipulu

Hooker: Alakoka Po’oi, Cristo Tofa

Prop: Aldora Itunu, Aleisha Nelson, Cilia-Marie Po’e, Doris Taufateau, Cheyenne Tuli

Coach: Willie Walker

Player to Watch: Kiritapu Demant

Prediction: 2nd in Premiership

Bay of Plenty Volcanix

(Photo: Bay of Plenty Rugby)

The Bay of Plenty Volcanix have a stacked lineup which includes multiple Black Ferns in their squad but have unfortunately lost forward Angel Mulu. Only winning one game in the previous season they will be hoping to make more of an impact this time round.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Manaia Nuku, Kalyn Takitimu-Cook, Sapphire Tapsell

Wing: Grace Parata-Stewart, Mererangi Paul, Olivia Richardson, Payton Takimoana

Centre: Nadia Flavell, Azalleyah Maaka, Layla Te Riini, Ashleigh Timoko, Renee Wickliffe

First Five-Eighth: Kiki Tahere

Halfback: Lisa Egberts, Kanyon Paul, Sheniqua Taula, Raukawa Tuahuru

Forwards:

Lock: Karli Faneva, Jessie Wharekura, Kelsie Wills

Loose Forward: Helena Coughlan, Les Elder, Tynealle Fitzgerald, Kendra Reynolds, Pia Tapsell, Brooklyn Teki-Joyce, Kurarauringa Waller

Hooker: Luka Connor, Natalie Delamere

Prop: Baye Jacob, Te Urupounamu McGarvey, Angel Mulu, Sereana Naqarase, Santo Taumata, Jay-Jay Taylor, Ro Silo Togotogorua

Coach: To be announced

Player to Watch: Kalyn Takitimu-Cook

Prediction: 6th in Premiership

Canterbury Women

(Photo: ClubRugby.nz)

Under the guidance of Kiwi Ferns player and top point-scorer in the 2020 season, Kendra Cocksedge, Cantebury have won 27 of their past 28 games. They will be hoping to continue their winning ways with a complete and sturdy roster.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Isabella Waterman

Wing: Bronwyn Dibb, Tayla Simpson

Centre: Grace Brooker, Grace Steinmetz

First Five-Eighth: Terauoriwa Gapper, Rosie Kelly

Second Five-Eighth: Amy du Plessis, Olivia McGoverne

Halfback: Kendra Cocksedge, Dianne Hiini, Melanie Puckett

Forwards:

Number 8: Lucy Anderson

Lock: Chelsea Bremner, Emma Dermody, Cindy Nelles, Stacey Niao

Loose Forward: Alana Bremner, Lucy Jenkins, Jorja Miller, Greer O’Rourke, Marcelle Parkes

Hooker: Georgia Ponsonby, Stephanie Te ohaere-fox, Rebecca Todd

Prop: Catriona Greenslade, Phillipa Love, Amy Milnes, Nina Poletti, Amy Rule

Coach: Blair Baxter

Player to Watch: Jorja Miller

Prediction: 3rd in Premiership

Counties Manukua Heat

(Photo: Warriors.kiwi)

The Counties squad have been able to make the semi-finals every year between 2015-2019, even winning the Premiership in 2016. With only being able to come fifth last year they will need to rely on their four Black Ferns star players.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Emily Kitson

Wing: Waikohika Flesher, Taina Halasima, Zion Leaupepe, Lanulangi Veainu

Centre: Shyanne Thompson

Second Five: Kataraina Enosa-Taifau, Shonte To’a

Halfback: Hazel Tubic, Aeron Kalela Warbrooke, Leititia Vaka

Utility: Cortez Te Pau

Forwards:

Number 8: Atonio Utumalama, Wendy Savieti, Harono Te Iringam

Lock: Rebecca Burch, Louise Taelega

Loose Forward: Glory Aiono, Stacey Brown, Larissa Henwood, Anastasia Mamea, Ti Tauasosi,

Hooker: Cathy Leuta, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate

Prop: Shaye Adams, Jacqui Aiono, Teuila Aumua, Kalo Cuthers, Leilani Perese,

Coach: JP Faamausuilli

Player to Watch: Emily Kitson

Prediction: 5th in Premiership

Hawke’s Bay Tui

(Photo: Provincial Rugby)

Last season, the Hawke’s Bay Tui were able to come second in the Championship. They had an inexperience roster last time with 11 players making their debut. This season with their roster being more experienced and receiving more game time they should be able to come first in the Championship.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Phoenicia Te Rito

Wing: Nicolette Adamson, Harmony Kautai, Amaia Te Hau

Centre: Leilani Hakiwai, Amelia Pasikala

First Five-Eighth: Krysten Cottrell

Second Five-Eighth: Michaela Baker, Imij Hawkins, Jaimee Robin

Halfback: Emma Jensen, Rakai McCafferty

Forwards:

Number 8: Kathleen Brown, Gemma Woods

Lock: Rachael Horton, Rebekah Hurae, Journey Otene

Loose Forward: Tamia Edwards, Nina Pineaha, Leah Tuhi

Hooker: Tuia Edwards, Hayley McKay

Prop: Iukika Faavae, Kara Huata, Ashley Palu, Jannali Ruawai, Jennifer Simati

Coach: Blair Cross

Player to Watch: Krysten Cottrell

Prediction: 1st in Championship

Manawatu Cyclones

(Photo: All Blacks)

This season will be an emotional one for Manawatu after former player Ashley Knight passed away. Even though they have been able to consistently outscore their opponents, their whole previous roster has not returned. Expect them to be one of the best attacking teams in the Farah Palmer Cup.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Selica Winiata

Wing: Holly-Rae Mete, Jashana Tetue-Teuawiri, Alesha Williams

Centre: Lauren Balsillie, Kaia Walker-Waitoa

First Five-Eighth: Laura Claridge

Halfback: Lucy Brown, Paige Lush

Utility Back: Carys Dallinger, Crystal Mayes, Rangimarie Sturmey, Janna Michel Vaughan, Corrineke Windle

Forwards:

Lock: Jessica Fagan-Pease, Rhiarna Ferris, Ashleigh Knight, Caterina Poletti, Rachael Rakatau, Kahurangi Sturmey

Loose Forward: Elinor-Plum King, layla Sae, Sam TIpene

Hooker: Jayme Nuku

Prop: Katelyn Donaldson, Marilyn Live, Ruby-May Ngaruhe, Mahalia Polson, Ngano Tavake, Annemieke van Vliet

Coach: Fusi Fe’aunati

Player to Watch: Jamie Vaughan

Prediction: 4th in Premiership

Northland Kauri

(Photo: Northland Rugby Union)

Northland have slowly established themselves as one of the premium teams in the competition. Their ability to create a high performance set-up puts their younger players above the rest. Since joining the competition in 2019 they have won more than 50% of their matches.

SQUAD:

Backs:

Fullback: Tyler Nankivell

Wing: Lara Cooper, Holi O’Sullivan, Alisha Proctor, Tu-Ira Stowers, Louisa Tubailagi

Centre: Rowena Davis-Cooper , Stacey Tupe, Portia Woodman

Second Five-Eighth: Timara Leof, Sela Maata’ane

Halfback: Eden Cherrington, Jherhi-Kah Hoet, Tyla Nathan-Wang

Forwards:

Number 8: Belinda Edwards, Hikitia Wikaira

Lock: Justice Karena, Jo Littin, Lily Murray-Wihongi

Loose Forward: Jurney Blair, Madison Brooke, Harata Brown, Leilani Erwin, Tui McGeorge

Hooker: Tiaho Mahanga, Cheryl Murray

Prop: Kredence Brown, Clare Guest, Krystal Murray, Hinewai Pomare, Kahurangi Shelford, Kamila Wihongi

Coach: Cheryl Smith nee Waaka

Player to Watch: Tara Turner

Prediction: 3rd in Championship

North Harbour Hibiscus

(Photo: All Blacks)

North Harbour will be hoping to continue their good form. Their roster produces an intimidating opponent for any team whether be good or bad. They will be looking to be near the top of the ladder and have the players to do it.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Hayley Hutana, Kiana Wereta

Wing: Moana Courtenay, Jessie Courtenay-Malupo, Ava Jericevich, Latisha Trigwell-Achmad, Holly Williams

Centre: Wairakau Greig, Felicity Powdrell

First Five: Kobi Daniel, Olivia Waldron

Second Five-Eighth: Tsz Ting Lee

Halfback: Hailey Beale, Manaia Webb

Forwards:

Lock: Manutalaaho Huni, Sereima Tavaga, Jade Wong

Loose Forward: Anita Berry, Madisson Mata’afa, Danielle Mellow, Kate Williams

Hooker: Danjela Haigh, Katelyn Hilton, Vaniga Moimoi

Prop: Ciara O’Connor, Inga Timani, Mel Williams, Olivia Ward-Duin

Coach: Bill Wigglesworth

Player to Watch: Tsz Ting Lee

Prediction: 2nd in Championship

Otago Spirit

(Photo: All Blacks)

After not being able to record a single win last season Otago will be looking for a different result this season. Their co-captains have competed in 91 games between them and offer a wealth of experience to the more inexperienced players. Look for the Spirit to record more wins after their first win.

SQUAD

Backs:

Wing: Lourdes Faifua, Samarra Soper

First Five: Sheree Hume

Midfield: Teilah Ferguson, Keely Hull, Kilisitina Moata’ane

First Five-Eighth: Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali

Halfback: Jordyn Tereu

Utility: Oceana Campbell, Cheyenne Cunningham, Daimzel Rongokea, Lauren Sa’u, Hinemoa Watene

Forwards:

Number 8: Chaz Tumu-Makara, Rebekah Wairau

Lock: Ella Gomez, Julia Gorinski

Loose Forward: Grace Carroll, Maddie Feaunati, Morgan Henderson, Leah Miles, Greer Muir

Hooker: Tegan Hollows, Amber McKenzie, Gemma Millar

Prop: Lucy Cahill, Paige Church, Fualole Merelei Moananu, Jay’Lee Nouata-Manase, Isla Pringle, Emma Takopi

Coach: Scott Manson

Player to Watch: Maia Joseph

Prediction: 4th in Championship

Taranaki Whio

(Photo: Taranaki Rugby)

Due to their best player retiring last season, the rest of the seasons preparation was disruptive and lackluster. This season there have been no disruptions in their pre-season and they are ready to prove a point. Coached by English international Latoya Mason, the young squad will get better as time progresses.

SQUAD

Backs:

Wing: Olivia Hesseltine, Nikki Katene, Hannah McLean, Keighley Simpson

First Five-Eighth: Chloe Sampson

Midfield Back: Ruby Hutchieson, Paige Neilson, Briana Poingdestre, Sharma Tito-Green

Halfback: Iritana Hohaia, Kelsyn McCook

Utility Back: Danielle Muggeridge, Badin-Lee Munro-Smith

Forwards:

Number 8: Jaymi Ngaia

Lock: Sammie Bean, Angel Lindsay, Victoria McCullough, Brooke Neilson, Ashlyn Pescini

Loose Forward: Tiana Davison, Chelsea Fowler, Aroha Nuku, Tiffany Nuku, Pareake O’Brien, Jacquelin Tullock, Charlotte Webby

Hooker: Kelsi Bailey, Donia King

Prop: Maree Dallinger-Phipps, Tachelle Gardiner, Natalie Jones

Coach: Latoya Mason

Player to Watch: Megan Cloke

Prediction: 5th in Championship

Tasman Mako

(Photo: Stan)

The Tasman Mako have not been able to win a single game for two season but many pundits are predicting they will be able to break this drought. Under the guidance of two-time World Cup winner Mel Bosman as coach, they will leave everything on the field and go into every match-up as the underdogs.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Wikura Kuka-O’Brien

Wing: Pippa Andrews, Eleri James-Sitters, Michelle Miller-Leef, Fiaalii Solomona

Centre: Eve Findlay, Sophie Hart, Rebecca Kersten, Jamie Paenga, Lesieli Taufa, Sydnee Wilkins

Second Five-Eighth: Hannah Kelly, Keeley Ridley, Demi Salton

Halfback: Aiesha Tepuia, Maiden Tupara, Karla Wright-Akeli

Forwards:

Number 8: Easter Savelio, Katie Silcock

Lock: Jess Foster-Lawrence, Marylynn Matagi

Loose Forward: Neve Anglesey, Jess Harvie, Kate Nightengale, Masuusuimatamaalii Tausasa Pauaraisa, Tamara Silcock

Hooker: Anna Bradley, Meika Newman, Amanda Sim

Prop: Kelly Collins, Tanita Garnett, Akita Kees, Raumati Rogers, Erana Te Moananui, Jamee Te Moananui

Coach: Mel Bosman

Player to Watch: Cassie Siataga

Prediction: 6th in Championship

Waikato Women

(Photo: Waikato Rugby Union)

First in the Premiership last year, Waiakto are hoping to keep their position at the top of the ladder. The reigning champions haven’t made any significant changes to their team and produce eight players from the 2021 Black Ferns squad.

SQUAD

Backs:

Fullback: Cheyelle Robins-Reti

Wing: Montessa Tairakena, Gaibreill Wainohu

Centre: Kiriana Nolan, Rina Paraone, Nikita Porima, Kelsey Teneti

First Five: Chelsea Alley

First Five-Eighth: Tahau Kennedy

Halfback: Reese Anderson, Ariana Bayler, Klee Begbie

Utility: Renee Holmes

Forwards:

Number 8: Victoria Edmonds

Lock: Mia Anderson, Jade Coates, Chyna Hohepa, Leomie Kloppers

Loose Forward: Veisinia Fakalelu, Huia Harding, Emma-lee Heta, Kennedy Simon, Sina Tainefu

Hooker: Ryleigh Hayes, Grace Houpapa-Barrett, Merania Paraone

Prop: Rianna Aspinall, Claudia Hobbs, Chyann Kaitapu, Tanya Kalounivale, Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, Esther Tilo-Faiaoga

Coach: James Semple

Player to Watch: Jade Coates

Prediction: 1st in Premiership

Wellington Pride

(Photo: Twitter-@WgtnRugby)

Wellington has a roster that can make them either first or last in the competition. Their forwards are led by Black Ferns prop Angel Mulu and offer a range of strength and size. Their backs, led by Monica Tagoai provide the team with speed, creativity and skill. On their day they are a team to watch.

SQUAD

Backs:

Wing: Lyric Faleafaga, Ayesha Leti-I’iga, Kolora Lomani

Outside Back: Georgia Daals, Davina Lasini

Midfield Back: Harmony Ioane, Fa’asua Makisi, Moica Tagoai

Five-Eighth: Elizabeth Goulden, Amanda Rasch

Halfback: Ana Afuie, Milly Mackey

Utility Back: Vaine Marsters, Thamsyn Newton

Forwards:

Lock: Sanita Levave, Joanah Ngan-Woo, Jackie Patea-Fereti, Gerardine Solia-Gibb

Loose Forward: Dhys Faleafaga, Nina Foaese, Sinead Ryder, Xavier Tusa

Hooker: Precious Auimatagi, Alicia Print, Valini Vaka

Prop: Lavinia Lea, Isadora Leio-Laupola, Marianive Leota, Barbra Taumoli, Angelica Uila

Coach: Zak Feaunati

Player to Watch: Thamsyn Newton

Prediction: 7th in Premiership

(Photo: RUGBY HEARTLAND)

Fixture

Round 1

Waikato Women vs Manawatu Cyclones

Wellington Pride vs Canterbury Women

Auckland Storm vs Counties Manukau Heat

Round 2

Canterbury Women vs Auckland Storm

Hawke’s Bay Tui vs Otago Spirit

Taranaki Women vs North Harbour Hibiscus

Northland Women vs Tasman Women

Manawatu Cyclones vs Bay of Plenty Volcanix

Counties Manukau Heat vs Wellington Pride

Round 3

Bay of Plenty Volcanix vs Auckland Storm

Manawatu Cyclones vs Counties Manuakau Heat

Tasman Women vs Taranaki Women

Otago Spirit vs Northland Women

North Harbour Hibiscus vs Hawke’s Bay Tui

Wellington Pride vs Waikato Women

Round 4

Counties Manukau Heat vs Canterbury Women

Auckland Storm vs Manawatu Cyclones

Waikato Women vs Bay of Plenty Volcanix

Northland Women vs Hawke’s Bay Tui

Taranaki Women vs Otago Spirit

Tasman Women vs North Harbour Hibiscus

Round 5

Otago Spirit vs Tasman Women

Hawke’s Bay Tui vs Taranaki Women

Manawatu Cyclones vs Wellington Pride

Northland Women vs North Harbour Hibiscus

Canterbury Women vs Waikato Women

Bay of Plenty Volcanix vs Counties Manukau Heat

Round 6

Taranaki Women vs Northland Women

Wellington Pride vs Bay of Plenty Volcanix

Canterbury Women vs Manawatu Cyclones

North Harbour Hibiscus vs Otago Spirit

Tasman Women vs Hawke’s Bay Tui

Waikato Women vs Auckland Storm

Round 7

Auckland Storm vs Wellington Pride

Counties Manukau Heat vs Waikato Women

Bay of Plenty Volcanix vs Canterbury Women

Round 8

To be announced

Round 9

To be announced

Round 10

To be announced

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