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Eden Park to host historic clash

The first ever women’s Super Rugby takes place on Saturday at Eden Park, with the Blues hosting the Chiefs.

The game is being played before the Round 10 Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the two same men's teams.

A number of senior Black Ferns are involved with Eloise Blackwell, Les Elder, Charmaine McMenamin and Chelsea Alley, as well as emerging stars Patricia Maliepo, Maia Roos and Kelsey Teneti all set to feature.

The Blues are being coached by new Auckland Storm coach Willie Walker with the help of Northland Kauri coach Cheryl Smith and the former Black Fern star Anna Richards.

Counties Manukau Heat coach Chad Shepherd is in charge of the Chiefs, alongside Mike Rogers, former England player Latoya Mason and James Semple.

The Chiefs team includes twelve current Black Ferns.

Shepherd said his side were excited and honoured to be a part of a historic occasion.

“Collectively as a team we have been working hard to establish a strong team culture and connect as one on the field. We had our final team training last night and you could feel it was game week. There is a great buzz among the team, and we are excited to kick things off come Saturday. It will be a great spectacle of rugby and one we hope people come out and support.”

Walker added that his side was excited about the game too. 

“First and foremost, we want to do well. There’s a real excitement and energy in the group this week. We know we are leading the way and hopefully put on a great show and play an important part in developing a professional Super competition in the near-future.

“We have seen what professionalism has done to the development of women in Sevens and the same will happen for us if we get the opportunity.”

He has named four capped Black Ferns in his pack led by captain Blackwell along with her Auckland teammates Aleisha Pearl-Nelson and Charmaine McMenamin along with Northland’s TK Ngata Aerengamate with Lisa Molia and Krystal Murray both contracted to the Ferns for 2021.

The internationals in the backline include experienced midfielder Ruahei Demant, the vice-captain, and winger Natahlia Moors.

Six teenagers are named in the starting line-up including the halfback-first five pairing of Luisa Togotogorua, 17, and Patricia Maliepo, 18. 

The game takes place this Saturday at 4.340m NZT live on Sky Sports New Zealand. 

TelevisionBlues: 1 Krystal Murray (Northland), 2 Te Kura Ngata Aerengamate (Northland), 3 Aleisha Pearl-Nelson (Auckland), 4 Eloise Blackwell (Auckland) (C), 5 Maia Roos (Auckland), 6 Lisa Molia (Auckland), 7 Kate Williams (North Harbour), 8 Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland); 9 Luisa Togotogorua (Auckland), 10 Patricia Maliepo (Auckland), 11 Natahlia Moors (Auckland), 12 Ruahei Demant (Auckland) (VC), 13 Sylvia Brunt (Auckland), 14 Princess Elliot (Auckland), 15 Hayley Hutana (North Harbour).

Reserves: 16 Saphire Abraham (Auckland), 17 Aldora Itunu (Auckland), 18 Cristo Tofa (Auckland), 19 Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (Auckland), 20 Shannon Leota (Auckland), 21 Moana Cook (Auckland), 22 Tyler Nankivell (Northland), 23 Daynah Nankivell (Auckland).

Waitomo Chiefs Women:1. Angel Mulu (Bay of Plenty), 2. Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty), 3. Tanya Kalounivale (Waikato), 4. Kelsie Wills (Bay of Plenty),5. Chyna Hohepa (Waikato),6. Kendra Reynolds (Bay of Plenty), 7. Les Elder (Bay of Plenty) ©, 8. Kennedy Simon (Waikato), 9. Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Counties Manukau), 10. Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau), 11. Langi Veainu (Counties Manukau), 12. Chelsea Alley (vc) (Waikato), 13. Ngatokotoru Arakua (Counties Manukau) , 14. Kelsey Teneti (Waikato) 15. Renee Holmes (Waikato)

Replacements: 16. Grace Houpapa-Barrett (Waikato), 17. Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (Waikato), 18. Leilani Perese (Counties Manukau), 19. Harono Te Iringa (Counties Manukau), 20. Pia Tapsell (Bay of Plenty), 21. Ariana Bayler (Waikato), 22. Shyanne Thompson (Counties Manukau), 23. Iritana Hohaia (Taranaki)