March 18, 2023

Continuity the key for Waitomo Chiefs Manawa

The Waitomo Chiefs Manawa head into Sky Super Rugby Aupiki semifinals this weekend at the top of the table. The unbeaten Waitomo Chiefs Manawa will face the Hurricanes Poua for the second time this season at North Harbour Stadium.

The Waitomo Chiefs Manawa have been in outstanding form this season with the team topping the leaderboard for tries scored, carries and defenders beaten.

Luka Connor and Georgia Daals have crossed the white line five times each in the pool play rounds cementing their spot in the starting lineup for the fourth week running. Connor holds the top carries statistic for the competition with 41 whilst Daals matches Jamie Kolose of the Blues with 18 defenders beaten.

"The team is connected, and you’ve seen that over the past three weeks when things get hard, there’s a real belief within the group that we will find a way," said Waitomo Chiefs Manawa head coach Crystal Kaua.

Choosing to maintain the continuity of previous weeks, the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa 23 remains mostly unchanged. However, Kaua is not letting the team get complacent despite their winning streak.

"Training is hard, it's full noise. They’re toe to toe at training, and they know how to act under pressure because every moment they have been with us it’s been pressured.

"We’ve lost ten Black Ferns XV’s or sevens players since last year, what we have delivered to date is special, but these are the moments we train for. In finals footy, we want to see them put out an 80-minute performance, we haven’t done that yet."

"We need to play our way, the Manawa way," explained Kaua.

The semifinal clash against the Hurricanes Poua kicks off at 6.05pm on Sunday 19 March following the Blues v Matatū.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa team:
1. Kate Henwood
2. Luka Connor
3. Tanya Kalounivale
4. Kelsie Thwaites
5. Chelsea Bremner
6. Charmaine Smith
7. Tynealle Fitzgerald
8. Kennedy Simon (C)
9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (VC)
10. Hazel Tubic
11. Georgia Daals
12. Azalleyah Maaka
13. Carla Hohepa
14. Mererangi Paul
15. Tenika Willison

16. Grace Houpapa-Barrett
17. Harono Te Iringa
18. Te Urupounamu McGarvey
19. Dhys Faleafaga
20. Victoria Makea
21. Violet Hapi-Wise
22. Abigail Roach
23. Apii Nicholls

All media enquiries to [email protected]

Continuity the key for Waitomo Chiefs Manawa