May 05, 2023

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa players earn Black Ferns contracts

Congratulations to our Waitomo Chiefs Manawa players that have received Black Ferns contracts for 2023!

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the 37 contracted players locked in for the Black Ferns as they set their sights on building toward the 2025 Rugby World Cup.

Sky Super Rugby Aupiki standouts, Grace Gago, Katelyn Vahaakolo, Layla Sae, Lucy Jenkins, Mererangi Paul, Kate Henwood, Iritana Hohaia and Rosie Kelly have secured their first fulltime Black Ferns contracts.

In addition, 2022 Black Ferns Rugby World Cup champions Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, Kendra Reynolds, Sylvia Brunt and Santo Taumata have also picked up fulltime Black Ferns contracts for the first time, with Ruby Tui to re-join the squad following a sabbatical.

Black Ferns Director of Rugby Allan Bunting congratulated the contracted group.

“We have a balance of youth and experience among the group who we believe can take this team to another level, which is exciting for the future of the Black Ferns. A number of players stood out in Sky Super Rugby Aupiki and now have the opportunity to further their growth and do that at the next level. For this group, it is now time to re-focus and look at what it really means to be a Black Fern, build off what was achieved, strive to be better on and off the field, and enjoy the journey.”

Contracted players will train out of regionalised hubs in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch, where they will receive technical, tactical and strength and conditioning programmes.

In addition, each player will have one day a week committed to their personal development, focussing on the areas of career/education and work, finance and asset protection, character development, mental wellness and other professional rugby obligations and expectations.

2023 Black Ferns Contracted Players:
Alana Bremner (Matatū, Canterbury)
Amy Du Plessis (Matatū, Canterbury)
Amy Rule (Matatū, Canterbury)
Ariana Bayler (Blues, Waikato)
Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau)
Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)
Ayesha Leti-I’iga (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington)
Charmaine McMenamin (Blues, Auckland)
Chelsea Bremner (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Canterbury)
Georgia Ponsonby (Matatū, Canterbury)
Grace Brooker (Matatū, Canterbury)
Grace Gago (Blues, Counties Manukau)
Grace Steinmetz (Matatū, Canterbury)
Hazel Tubic (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau)
Iritana Hohaia (Hurricanes Poua, Taranaki)
Joanah Ngan-Woo (Hurricanes Poua, Wellington)
Kate Henwood (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Katelyn Vahaakolo (Blues, Auckland)
Kelsie Thwaites (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Kendra Reynolds (Matatū, Bay of Plenty)
Kennedy Simon (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)
Krystal Murray (Hurricanes Poua, Northland)
Layla Sae (Hurricanes Poua, Manawatu)
Liana Mikaele’Tu'u (Blues, Auckland)
Logo-I-Pulotu Lemapu Atai'i (Sylvia) Brunt (Blues, Auckland)
Lucy Jenkins (Matatū, Canterbury)
Luka Connor (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Maiakawanakaukani Roos (Blues, Auckland)
Mererangi Paul (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Counties Manukau)
Patricia Maliepo (Blues, Auckland)
Pip Love (Matatū, Canterbury)
Renee Holmes (Matatū, Waikato)
Rosie Kelly (Matatū, Canterbury)
Ruahei Demant (Blues, Auckland)
Ruby Tui (Waikato)
Santo Taumata (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Bay of Plenty)
Tanya Kalounivale (Waitomo Chiefs Manawa, Waikato)

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa players in bold.

Waitomo Chiefs Manawa players earn Black Ferns contracts