March 01, 2024

Chiefs Manawa name impressive side for opener

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The Chiefs Manawa have named an impressive side to open the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki side this Saturday against the Hurricanes Poua.

A lot of continuity remains from previous seasons with the return of Mia Anderson and Chelsea Semple from maternity leave. As well as Ruby Tui, Renee Holmes and Ariana Bayler who represented the Chiefs Manawa in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

The Black Ferns forward pack will prove formidable with Kate Henwood, Luka Connor and Tanya Kalounivale making up a strong front row, alongside the experienced locking duo of Charmaine Smith and Chelsea Bremner.

Captain Kennedy Simon commands the No.7 jersey with Japan international, Seina Saito, joining her and Anderson in the loose forwards. The dynamic Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu starts at halfback with Semple at first-five.

Thrilling wingers Ruby Tui and Mererangi Paul will be joined by Renee Holmes to complete an electric backline. Meanwhile, former winger Grace Steinmetz moves into the midfield to make her Chiefs Manawa debut, alongside Bay of Plenty’s Azalleyah Maaka.

Off the bench, Claudia Hobbs will also make her debut, as will Krystal Murray against her former team. Further impact will come from Victoria Edmonds, Chyna Hohepa, Merania Paraone, and Apii Nicholls.

Chiefs Manawa head coach Crystal Kaua said: “Our players have worked hard over the preseason, and we are excited to see them express that on the field. We will see the debut of multiple players this weekend, alongside welcoming back many who played for us during the 2021 & 2022 seasons.

“There are some real quality additions and a lot of new combinations which we look forward to seeing grow over the competition.”

The Chiefs Manawa will kick off at the family-friendly time of 2.05pm Saturday against the Hurricanes Poua.

Chiefs Manawa team to face Hurricanes Poua:
1. Kate Henwood
2. Luka Connor
3. Tanya Kalounivale
4. Charmaine Smith
5. Chelsea Bremner
6. Mia Anderson
7. Kennedy Simon (Captain)
8. Seina Saito
9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
10. Chelsea Semple
11. Ruby Tui
12. Grace Steinmetz
13. Azalleyah Maaka
14. Mererangi Paul
15. Renee Holmes

16. Victoria Edmonds
17. Krystal Murray
18. Claudia Hobbs
19. Chyna Hohepa
20. Grace Kukutai
21. Ariana Bayler
22. Merania Paraone
23. Apii Nicholls

Unavailable for selection: Olive Watherston, Hazel Tubic, and Bitila Tawake.

Match Details
Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes Poua
Kickoff: 2.05pm
FMG Stadium Waikato
Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport

Chiefs Manawa name impressive side for opener