July 14, 2021

2021 Waitomo Group Waikato Farah Palmer Cup Squad Announced

The Waitomo Group Waikato Farah Palmer Cup team has been announced ahead of the 2021 season.

Waitomo Group have stepped up their support in 2021 moving from the sleeve sponsor that they have been since 2019, now becoming the new major sponsor and will be displayed front and centre on the Waikato Farah Palmer Cup team for the next two seasons.

This seasons squad features six 2020 Black Ferns squad members, they are Chelsea Alley, Carla Hohepa, Renee Holmes, Tanya Kalounivale, Cheyelle Robins-Reti and Kennedy Simon plus two players that featured for the 2020 New Zealand Barbarians, Ariana Bayler and Grace Houpapa-Barrett.

The squad will again be captained by, Chelsea Alley, who has currently amassed 44 caps for the province and this year has a chance of reaching 50 caps for Waikato. This is similar to the milestone she achieved last season, where against Bay of Plenty she played her 50th Provincial Cap for three different provinces (Waikato, Auckland & North Harbour). Alley will again be joined in the leadership group by 2020 vice-captain, Chyna Hohepa.

Seventeen players from the 2020 squad return to play in 2021, they are joined by six players that return to the Waikato squad after a season or two hiatuses. 2019 players making their return are Jade Coates, Ryleigh Hayes, Rina Paraone, Kennedy Tahau and Awhina Tangen-Wainohu. Also making her return to the Waikato squad for the first time since 2018 is, Victoria Edmonds. Edmonds also has 44 caps and like Alley has a chance this season to bring up 50 provincial caps for Waikato.

Eight rookies have been named in the squad and have the chance to record their first cap for the province throughout the season. These players are Hamilton Old Boys, Reese Anderson, Montessa Tairakena, Melville’s, Rianna Aspinall, Chyann Kaitapu, Nikita Porima, Gaibreill Wainohu Putaruru’s, Klee Begbie and University’s, Claudia Hobbs.

Waikato Head Coach, James Semple said “Every year this competition gets better and better! We see this season as our biggest challenge yet and one we are up for.

Selection was hard this season after a very solid club competition. We made it a real focus to pick players that want to improve the legacy of this amazing team and make sure that the jersey is in a better place after the season.

We are proud of the squad we were able to assemble and are fortunate enough to have some mums and experienced players returning to the team that will help drive our standards and raise the bar to ensure that we build on the foundation the squad laid for us last year.
We also welcome several new DUBz to the whanau that will bring a lot of excitement and freshness to the returning playing group.

We look forward to unleashing the squad on the competition and transforming into an even better team in 2021.”

The Waitomo Group Waikato Farah Palmer Cup season begins with a bye week this weekend, with their first match schedule on Saturday 24th July as a repeat of the 2020 Final, this time hosting reigning champions, Canterbury, at Marist Park. Before the team embarks on back-to-back road games against Bay of Plenty and Otago.

Waikato then return home for back-to-back home games, the first home game will be against Wellington on Sunday 15th August, followed by Counties Manukau on Saturday 21st August both are a part of double and triple headers at FMG Stadium Waikato. Their final match of the regular season is away to face Auckland.

2021 Waitomo Group Waikato Farah Palmer Cup Squad
Chelsea Alley (44) University (Captain)
Reese Anderson (*) Hamilton Old Boys
Mia Anderson (8) University
Rianna Aspinall (*) Melville
Ariana Bayler (36) Hamilton Old Boys
Klee Begbie (*) Putaruru
Jade Coates (3) Hamilton Old Boys
Victoria Edmonds (44) University
Emma-Lee Heta (30) Kihikihi
Sina Hetet (6) Otorohanga
Ryleigh Hayes (20) Melville
Claudia Hobbs (*) University
Carla Hohepa (9) Kihikihi
Chyna Hohepa (28) Kihikihi (Vice Captain)
Renee Holmes (14) Hamilton Old Boys
Grace Houpapa-Barrett (28) Otorohanga
Chyann Kaitapu (*) Melville
Tanya Kalounivale (21) Hamilton Old Boys
Leomie Kloppers (18) Hamilton Old Boys
Kiriana Nolan (7) Kihikihi
Merania Paraone (8) Kihikihi
Rina Paraone (20) Kihikihi
Nikita Porima (*) Melville
Cheyelle Robins-Reti (14) Melville
Kennedy Simon (25) Hamilton Old Boys
Kennedy Tahau (4) Hamilton Old Boys
Montessa Tairakena (*) Hamilton Old Boys
Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (10) Hamilton Old Boys
Kelsey Teneti (2) Hamilton Old Boys
Gaibreill Wainohu (*) Melville

Squad Training Members
Veisinia Fakalelu (*) Melville
Huia Harding (22) Melville
Esther Tilo-Faiaogo (16) Hamilton Old Boys

() = caps for Waikato
* = uncapped

2021 Waitomo Group Waikato Farah Palmer Cup Squad Announced