March 18, 2022

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa named to face Blues in final match of 2022 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki

The stage is set for this Sunday’s final Sky Super Rugby Aupiki match with the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa team confirmed to face the Blues at 7.35pm. Both teams have the chance to win the inaugural Sky Super Rugby Aupiki title. The match will follow the Matatū facing the Hurricanes Poua which will kick off at 5.05pm at FMG Stadium Waikato.

Waitomo Chiefs Head Coach Allan Bunting has kept a similar line-up to the team that defeated the Hurricanes Poua with the exception of a few players returning to the backline and bench. No changes have been made to the starting forward pack which took the field last Tuesday.

In the backs, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu starts at halfback pairing up again with Kelly Brazier at ten. Carla Hohepa shifts to second five-eighth with the return of Black Fern Stacey Fluhler at centre, which will be the midfielder’s official debut for the Waitomo Chiefs Manawa. The inclusion of Ruby Tui is the only other change to the starting backline, running out on the left wing.

On the bench, Black Ferns hooker Grace Houpapa-Barrett is named for the first time this season in jersey 16. Waikato’s Chyna Hohepa also returns for her first opportunity in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki in jersey 19. Ariana Bayler shifts to halfback cover, while the only other changes to the bench feature Renee Wickliffe and Langi Veainu as backline replacements to round out the matchday twenty-five.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa Head Coach Allan Bunting said the team are looking forward to the challenge their final match will bring.

“We are well aware what’s on the line this Sunday and look forward to the challenge. We have done really well as a group to progress through this competition and to battle our way into what the first ever Aupiki final. I’m very proud of the team, I know our ladies will leave everything out on the field this weekend, said Bunting.

“It’s great to have some players return to our squad to get their opportunity to be part of history. We know the Blues will bring the intensity and we are looking forward to putting on a performance our whānau, fans and region can be proud of”. finished Bunting

The match will be broadcasted live on Sky Sport and Prime.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa to face the Blues:

1. Angel Mulu
2. Luka Connor
3. Tanya Kalounivale
4. Pia Tapsell
5. Harono Te Iringa
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. Santo Taumata
19. Chyna Hohepa
20. Mia Anderson
21. Tynealle Fitzgerald
22. Ariana Bayler
23. Chelsea Semple
24. Renee Wickliffe
25. Langi Veainu

*Denotes Waitomo Chiefs Manawa debutant

Unavailable for selection
Kelsie Wills.

Game Day Information:
Final Fixture: Blues vs. Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Sunday 20 March, 7.05pm
Location: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Broadcast: Live on Sky Sport and Prime.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa named to face Blues in final match of 2022 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki