November 14, 2023

Chiefs Manawa re-sign Black Fern locks Smith, Bremner

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Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns Charmaine Smith and Chelsea Bremner have re-signed with Chiefs Manawa for the 2024 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki season.

The dynamic locks joined the team last season and provided influential height and strength to the tight five. They went on to establish themselves as indispensable players for the side, running out for every game.

Smith had a successful 2023 Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) campaign taking out the championship division title with Northland. Her impressive form saw her recalled to the Black Ferns squad for the first time since 2019 after taking a playing break to recover from injury and to have her daughter.

Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Crystal Kaua said: “Maines has a no-excuses mindset. She demands the best of herself and the people around her. On the field, she brings a real brutality and is probably one of the most competitive athletes I have come across.

“Her set piece and love for dark places is a huge asset. She has a world-class work ethic and she brings so much to our team both on and off the field.”

Smith said: “I’m really looking forward to the 2024 season with the Chiefs Manawa. We have an awesome bunch of people and I can’t wait to keep building on the strong foundations we have in place.”

Having debuted for the Black Ferns just over a year ago, Bremner has already established herself as indispensable in the black jersey. During the 2022 season, she played and won all 12 tests, continuing this winning streak into 2023.

“Chels is an absolute professional,” said Kaua, “her growth mindset and work ethic behind the scenes for the team is massive. She has some of the best close range footwork, is clinical in the lineout, and has an impactful work rate for 80min. With her team first mentality, she leads by example - we are so excited to have Chels back for another year with the Chiefs Manawa.”

Bremner said: “I’m really excited for my second year with the Chiefs Manawa. The culture of this team is really special to be a part of.”

The 2024 Chiefs Manawa squad will be announced later this month.

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Chiefs Manawa re-sign Black Fern locks Smith, Bremner