Most of Wellington’s senior representative teams are in action this weekend, in games at home, around the Hurricanes region and in Taupo.
There are four matches at Porirua Park on Saturday, including a Women’s NPC fixture and a much-anticipated Central Region Shield and Festival match.
The Farah Palmer Cup Women’s NPC comes to Jerry Collins Stadium for the first time this season, with the Wellington Pride hosting Canterbury there at 1.00pm.
This is the Pride’s only crossover match against Premiership opposition, so taking competition points from this encounter could prove valuable in a few weeks when the six tier two teams will be jostling for semi-final positions.
The Wellington Pride are coming off a 22-25 loss to the Hawke’s Bay Tuis in round one in Napier last Saturday, after leading 10-8 at halftime. Defending Premiership champions Canterbury opened their season with a 55-5 win over Bay of Plenty, with Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge an influential protagonist in this fixture scoring two tries and 20 points and fullback Olivia McGoverne also scoring a brace.
Head-to-head, these two teams have met 21 times since 1999, with the Pride winning nine of these and Canterbury 12.
Last year, the Pride lost to Canterbury 34-55 in their final game of the campaign. They didn’t meet in 2016, but the Pride won 32-18 at Petone in 2015.
The Pride versus Canterbury match will also be broadcast live on Te Upoko on 1161AM and online at tunein.com.
The Wellington Pride squad for the match is:
15 Timena Tumaái 14 Monica Tagoai 13 Faásua Makisi 12 Amanda Rasch 11 Ayesha Lei-liga 10 Acacia Te Iwi Mate 9 Ana-Maria Afuie 8 Tina Paulo 7 Sinead Toála-Ryder 6 Kiri Mei 5 Jackie Patea-Fereti 4 Joanah Ngan-Woo 3 Janet Taumoli 2 Alicia Print 1 Angelica Uila; Reserves, 16 Rosie Stirling 17 Isadora Laupola 18 Rejieli Uluinayau 19 Mary-Lee Sau 21 Sanita Levave 22 Nina Foaese 23 Bernadette Robertson
The second match on Jerry Collins Stadium is the annual encounter between the Wellington Samoans and Wellington Maori team, which kicks off at 2.45pm.
There should be plenty of heat in this one, against two teams with proud traditions in Wellington rugby.
The Wellington Samoans are coming off two narrow losses in the five-team Development Shield competition, that also involves the Centurions Development and Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu Development teams.
After being pipped 31-28 by the Centurions side, they lost to Manawatu 32-31, after taking an early two-try lead. The Wellington Maori beat Manawatu Development 35-21, but missed out 15-96 to the Hawke’s Bay side in game two.
The last three encounters between the Wellington Samoans and Maori teams have all been thrillers. Last year, the Samoans won 24-23 -with the Maori missing a last-gasp penalty attempt. In 2016 the Samaons won 35-33 – with Fa’atonu Fili successful with a penalty after the siren. In 2015 the Maori won 32-31 – with the lead changing hands several times throughout.
Meanwhile, the Centurions play the Hawke’s Bay Saracens side at McLean Park at 2.00pm, which is a curtain-raiser to a Magpies NPC match. The Centurions lost 14-24 to this same side last year, so will hope to go better on their home patch. The Manawatu Evergreens have the Hurricanes Development Shield bye.
There are two games up on the top field at Porirua Park tomorrow.
The Wellington Samoan Women and the Wellington Tongan Women kick off at on Porirua 2 at 1.00pm.
The Wellington Samoans U18s take on the Wairarapa Bush U18s in their opening Hurricanes U18 tournament match on Porirua Park 2 at 2.45pm. Elsewhere, the Wellington Community U18s play Poverty Bay in Gisborne in their first match of this tournament. The Centurions U18s have the weekend off.
The Wellington U16 Development side takes on the NZIS team at Te Whaea at 6.30pm on Friday night. The Wellington U16As play the Petone Barbarians at the Bernie Wood Artificial on Saturday at 1.30pm.
The Wellington Maori Development team plays its first RDO home fixture tomorrow, hosting Horowhenua-Kapiti B at the Hutt Rec. This team is coming off a 32-39 loss to Wanganui B, which followed a 36-56 win over Wairarapa Bush B.
The Wellington U13 reps start their representative programme with a match against the Marlborough U14s in Blenheim.