March 08, 2024

Chiefs Manawa name Tawake, Anderson to debut

The Chiefs Manawa welcome two new players to the ranks this week with the potential debut of prop Bitila Tawake and utility back Reese Anderson.

Anderson is a rookie this season but has been impressive for Waikato in FPC the last few seasons. Also, a Sky Super Rugby Aupiki rookie who is anything but inexperienced is Fijian Drua captain and Fjiian international Tawake.

Chiefs Manawa head coach Crystal Kaua is so happy to see the duo get their first games off the bench for the Chiefs Manawa this weekend.

“Reese is a young talent who has such a work ethic, is dynamic and brings an impressive sevens skillset, and Bitila is physical, instinctive and has been working hard to come back from injury.”

At scrum time, Krystal Murray, Tanya Kalounivale and Luka Connor will be a formidable front row, with locks Charmaine Smith and Chelsea Bremner only strengthening this tight five.

A stand-out performer in round one, Mia Anderson will return at loose forward alongside captain Kennedy Simon and the dynamic Victoria Edmonds.

Tawake, Seina Saito, Kate Henwood, Grace Kukutai and Chyna Hohepa will provide impact off the bench for the forward pack.

Ariana Bayler will start at halfback against her former team, with Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu to provide support. Commanding the No.10 jersey will be Chelsea Semple.

Continuing to show their versatility are Mererangi Paul and Grace Steinmetz who move into the midfield. Meanwhile, the trio of Ruby Tui, Merania Paraone and Renee Holmes will create a redoubtable backline. Azalleyah Maaka and Anderson are named as reinforcements.

Kaua said: “Blues play an expressive style of rugby, and they have a good combination of experience and young talent. All teams are in a much better place than the same time last year and they were impressive against Matatū. It’s always an entertaining game of rugby when our teams come together.”

The round two game against the Blues kicks off at 2.05pm at Bell Park, Pakuranga.

Chiefs Manawa team to face the Blues:
1. Krystal Murray
2. Luka Connor
3. Tanya Kalounivale
4. Charmaine Smith
5. Chelsea Bremner
6. Mia Anderson
7. Kennedy Simon (Captain)
8. Victoria Edmonds
9. Ariana Bayler
10. Chelsea Semple
11. Ruby Tui
12. Grace Steinmetz
13. Mererangi Paul
14. Merania Paraone
15. Renee Holmes

16. Seina Saito
17. Bitila Tawake*
18. Kate Henwood
19. Chyna Hohepa
20. Grace Kukutai
21. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
22. Azalleyah Maaka
23. Reese Anderson*

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Chiefs Manawa name Tawake, Anderson to debut