Port Taranaki Women’s head coach Matt Stone has named his squad for the upcoming Farah Palmer Cup which kicks off on September 1.

Taranaki, which will have a team in the competition for the first time since 2013, will be named after a rare blue duck called the Whio that reflects the teams’ culture and resilience.

Stone has named a 27-strong squad and will play in the competition’s championship along with Hawkes Bay, North Harbour, Otago, Tasman and Wellington.

Former Counties Manukau midfielder Utumalama Atonio has joined the Taranaki squad and has been involved in the New Zealand U17 and U18 wider training squads last year.

Stone can rely on a number of players who have already had existing competition experience including Brooke Sim, Natalie Jones, Victoria McCullough and Badinlee Munro-Smith.

There is also a selection of players from New Plymouth Girls’ High School including Head Girl Caterina Poletti and Elle Johns who have been stand outs in Taranaki’s sevens programme.

Stone has been satisfied with the attitude from the team after training together for the last three months.

“The girls have shown willingness to learn and develop which can be evident in their understanding of what myself and Assistant Coach Ben Siffleet are trying to implement into the game plan”.

He said the squad has a ‘roll up your sleeve’ attitude and are willing to make mistakes and ask questions with endeavour to learn.

While there is three weeks before the competition starts, Stone said there is plenty of work to be done.

“There is still some content that needs to be covered before kick-off. Once that has been implemented we can put what we have learnt into the pre-season games. The girls have asked for this opportunity and are willing to deliver success and grow women’s rugby in Taranaki” he said.While Taranaki will play in the Championship division, Stone realises that this season is about developing and cementing the team within the competition.

“The Whio are targeting certain games to win and to ultimately make play offs come the end of the season”.

He also has the vision of wanting to play premiership rugby in the top division and be a force within New Zealand.

Taranaki Rugby Women’s Development Officer Braydon Peterson said he is looking forward to the growth of the team throughout the season and how that will inspire the game in Taranaki.

“We have some outstanding players in the team, but also those experienced players can help improve and develop the younger players in the group” he said.

Taranaki lost their first pre-season game 41-12 against Hawkes Bay on Saturday. The Whio will play at this weekend’s New Zealand Rugby Invitational Tournament and will play three short games.

Port Taranaki Whio Squad:Lisa Appert, Natalie Jones, Maree Dallinger, Victoria McCullough, Kate Batchelor, Casio Austin, Jalana Smith, Baybe Moeahu, Natale Haupapa, Awhina Blackburn-Kingi, Brooke Sim, Elle Johns, Sharee Brown, Marika Allen, Hineana Dando, Badinlee Munro-Smith, Utumalana Atonio, Jessie Aitken-Fowell, Nga Pera Hei Hei, Caterina Poletti, Kayla Henry, Briana Poingdestre, Atalya Fakavamoeanga, Freedom Edmonds, Leah Barnard, Kelsey Walsh-Tito, Kate Parkinson. Coaches: Matt Stone, Ben Siffleet. Managers: Deb Davies, Patsy Matheson.

Draw: 1 September, Taranaki v Tasman, Motueka. 2:35pm8 September, Taranaki v North Harbour, TET Stadium, 2:00pm15 September, Taranaki v Hawkes Bay, TET Stadium, 2:30pm21 September, Taranaki v Bay of Plenty, Rotorua International Stadium, 5:05pm (TV)29 September, Taranaki v Otago, Yarrow Stadium, 2:35pm (TV) 06 October, Taranaki v Wellington, Porirua Park, 1:00pm.

-ENDS-For more information, please contact:Brayden PetersonTaranaki Women’s Rugby Development Officer0273 238 391braydon@trfu.co.nz

Article added: 14 August 2018


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