February 24, 2022

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Captain Announced

The Chiefs Rugby Club have today announced Les Elder as their 2022 Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Captain. The Black Ferns captain will continue her role as captain of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa after leading the side to the historic 39 – 12 win against the Blues Women last year. Elder made history as the first captain to win a New Zealand Super Rugby match featuring female players and will be etched in the club’s history books as the very first official captain of the team.

The 35-year-old loose forward was born in Taumarunui and has obtained 22 caps for the Black Ferns. She was first named as Black Ferns captain in 2019 and is known for her leadership skills along with her power and resilience as a loose forward. Elder took time off rugby in 2020 with the birth of her first child, returning in 2021 to captain both the Waitomo Chiefs Women and Black Ferns.

Elder said she was honoured to be named captain of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa and fortunate for the support around her.

“When I was told I was going to be captain of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa team I was really honoured. It’s a huge privilege to be able to lead any side and just looking at the calibre of the women in our team, any one of those other ladies could have done the job and I would have happily gone in and supported them”

“I’m really fortunate to have such an awesome group of women behind me and a great management team as well. We’ll be doing it together.” said Elder.

Elder said there is excitement in the squad around creating something special for the future of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa jersey.

“It was a real honour to be able to captain the team in the first match last year against the Blues (Women). To be able to continue from that and actually sink our teeth into a bit of work on what we want to create in the jersey and how we want to start this legacy makes it a lot more special. We’ve done some great work so far and the girls are really excited to create something special for the future of our jersey.” said Elder.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Allan Bunting is looking forward to seeing Elder lead the squad in the inaugural Sky Super Rugby Aupiki season.

“Les is a highly respected individual who holds a lot of mana which we’ve already seen benefit our team during pre-season. She is a high calibre rugby player who will be incredibly influential in reaching our goals and I am looking forward to seeing her lead the squad when our season kicks off next week.” said Bunting.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Michael Collins said it is fitting to have Elder named as the first official Waitomo Chiefs Manawa captain.

“It is outstanding to have Les named as captain of the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa. It is fitting that Les, a player who holds a huge amount of mana, will be forever etched in our club’s history as our very first captain of this team. She will be an asset to our campaign and we’re excited to see her lead our squad on the field come March 5th” said Collins.

The team’s principal partner Waitomo Group’s Managing Director Jimmy Ormsby said he has been hugely impressed by Elder’s leadership qualities.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Les last year when she captained the first Chiefs women's team and I was hugely impressed with the leadership and determination she displayed. Les is clearly well-respected in the game and by her teammates. All of us at Waitomo Group are really looking forward to watching her lead the squad when the season kicks off soon.” said Ormsby

The Waitomo Chiefs Manawa’s first match of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki will take place on Saturday March 5 against the nib Blues at Owen Delaney Park in Taupō, live on Sky Sport.

2022 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki Draw
(kick off times to be confirmed)

Saturday 5 March - Owen Delaney Park, Taupō
Blues v Waitomo Chiefs Manawa
Matatū v Hurricanes Poua

Thursday 10 March – FMG Stadium Waikato
Hurricanes Poua v Blues
Waitomo Chiefs Manawa v Matatū

Tuesday 15 March – FMG Stadium Waikato
Blues v Matatū
Waitomo Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes Poua

Sunday 20 March - Owen Delaney Park, Taupō

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Captain Announced
Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Captain Announced
Waitomo Group Managing Director Jimmy Ormsby with Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Captain Les Elder.