March 04, 2022

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa named for pre-season match vs Matatū

The wait is over to see the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa take the field this year for Sky Super Rugby Aupiki. Saturday’s match will now be a standard pre-season fixture against Matatū, kicking off at 2.15pm at Owen Delany Park in Taupō. The match was changed from a ‘Game of Three Halves’ after Hurricanes Poua were forced to withdraw due to covid-19 isolation requirements. Twenty-five Waitomo Chiefs Manawa players have been selected for the first fixture between the two teams.

Angel Mulu will start at loosehead prop, accompanied by Luka Connor at hooker and Black Ferns prop Tanya Kalounivale at tighthead. In the locks, Harono Te Iringa will start in the number 4 jersey joined by Chyna Hohepa, who captained Waikato to win their first Farah Palmer Cup title last season.

A formidable loose forward trio will run out first with Victoria Edmonds and blindside, Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Captain Les Elder taking the openside and the powerful Black Fern Kennedy Simon at Number 8.

In the backs, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu claims the first start at halfback for the season, pairing up with Black Ferns veteran Kelly Brazier at ten. A dynamic starting midfield features Black Ferns Carla Hohepa and Stacey Fluhler in jerseys 12 and 13 respectively. The starting back three is an electric combination, featuring Black Ferns Sevens players on both wings with Ruby Tui on the left and Portia Woodman on the right. Hazel Tubic rounds out an impressive starting backline at fullback.

The reserves bench features ten players who will be eager to stake their claim on a starting spot once the official Sky Super Rugby competition gets underway on March 10. The forwards replacements include Black Fern Grace Houpapa-Barrett, Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, Jayjay Taylor, Pia Tapsell, Karli Faneva and Tynealle Fitzgerald. Maia Joseph or Ariana Bayler will cover halfback (TBC) accompanied by Black Fern Renee Wickliffe, Georgia Daals and Langi Veainu to complete the backline replacements.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Allan Bunting said the players are excited to put on the new jersey for the first time and represent the Chiefs Rugby Club.

“It hasn’t been the easiest lead-up for any team to get on the field, but we are excited to finally get a hit-out underway. The ladies are excited about putting on the jersey, representing the club and just playing footy. Saturday, when it arrives, will be a well waited opportunity to go out and do what we love.” Said Bunting.

The match will be broadcasted live on Sky Sport. Sky have cemented their support for the women’s game, coming on board as the naming rights partner of the inaugural competition.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa to face Matatū in pre-season match:

1. Angel Mulu
2. Luka Connor
3. Tanya Kalounivale
4. Harono Te Iringa
5. Chyna Hohepa
6. Victoria Edmonds
7. Les Elder ©
8. Kennedy Simon
9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
10. Kelly Brazier
11. Ruby Tui
12. Carla Hohepa
13. Stacey Fluhler
14. Portia Woodman
15. Hazel Tubic

16. Grace Houpapa-Barrett
17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu
18. Jayjay Taylor
19. Pia Tapsell
20. Karli Faneva
21. Tynealle Fitzgerald
22. Maia Joseph/Ariana Bayler
23. Renee Wickliffe
24. Georgia Daals
25. Langi Veainu

Game Day Information:
Pre-Season Fixture: Waitomo Chiefs Manawa vs. Matatū, Saturday 5 March, 2.15pm
Location: Owen Delaney Park, Taupō
Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa named for pre-season match vs Matatū