February 28, 2023

Spotlight on women’s rugby for Waitomo Chiefs Manawa home game

The first-ever New Zealand Harlequins XV women’s team will face Te Tai Tokerau Natives women in a curtain-raiser match ahead of the first Waitomo Chiefs Manawa home game next week.

The Harlequins XV team will feature some of the best women's rugby ability from the Waikato region with Te Tai Tokerau Natives representing talent from across the Northland region at FMG Stadium Waikato on 11 March.

Both clubs are providing a further important stepping stone to foster women’s rugby talent within the regions from grassroots through to FPC and Super Rugby, with the goal of wearing the black jersey more alive than ever for these players after last year's home Rugby World Cup.

The Natives Rugby Club was established in 2018 by former Black Ferns, Aroha Savage and Rawinia Everitt, who saw a gap in the pathways of women's rugby within their Northland community.

"We knew there are great people in the north, with huge hearts, all with their own special talents – they just needed to be given the time and space to celebrate this and grow,” said Everitt.

"This is what Natives Kaupapa does. It provides a space for people to connect and encourages growth. It celebrates, not only in rugby and with physical activity, but in leadership for others taking up the wero of giving back to their community."

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa lock Harono Te Iringa also plays for the Natives and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu coaches the U18 side.

In 2018 the Harlequins Rugby Club began to engage in the development of their female players through the selection of their first Harlequins women’s sevens team that toured Japan. The club also established a Harlequins U17/U18 Girls team to further develop young rugby players at the school level.

“The New Zealand Harlequins women’s team are excited and looking forward to the opportunity of pulling on the jersey and continuing the proud legacy of the club,” said Harlequins XV head coach David Fox who will be assisted by former Waikato and Black Ferns representatives Regina Sheck and Honey Hireme-Smiler in the coaching group.

The game will kick off at 11.45am on Saturday 11 March at FMG Stadium Waikato ahead of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa vs Matatū at 2.05pm. Tickets for these games are on sale now from chiefs.flicket.co.nz.

Spotlight on women’s rugby for Waitomo Chiefs Manawa home game