Cyclone squad for 2019 confirmed
Selica Winiata has been confirmed as captain of the Manawatu Cyclones for their 2019 Farah Palmer Cup campaign.
The star fullback was announced in the role by coach Fusi Feaunati and new assistant coach Caleb Agnew-Jones at the Cyclones squad announcement on Tuesday.
The vice-captain is former Black Fern Sosoli Talawadua who played for Waikato last season.
“They are two ladies with high levels of experience having played in the Black Ferns for a number of years, but also ladies who also have a lot of experience on the playing field,” he said.
“What we also like is there is a good balance of leadership with Selica and Sos around their dynamics as a group.””
The returns of former Black Fern Janna Vaughan and New Zealand Sevens development player Crystal Mayes have added significant depth to the team’s backline.
Feaunati also named five young players - Laura Claridge, Jasmine O-Connell, Izzy Rewiri, Yuki Sue, Chloe Henderson – in a cadetship programme to work alongside the main squad.
“We really think they will benefit from being exposed to and train with the full squad,” he said.
The 2019 campaign has been themed “Write the Future” following on from their “Rise Up” campaign in 2018 where they beat Auckland for the first time and made the semi-finals of the Farah Palmer Cup.
“What the ladies have done is have a good discussion about what rugby here in Manawatu is all about, where it has been and where it currently is, more around giving them some focus of where it needs to be heading in the future. Their theme is ‘Write the Future’ which is all about laying the foundations for the generations to follow.”
Talawadua will help strengthen the front-row along with the returning Nicci Kuiti.
The Cyclones look set for a young second row with talented sevens exponent Kahurangi Sturmey joining Jessica Fagan-Pease, Ashleigh Knight and Mahalia Polson.
Hard working flanker Sam Tipene will lead the loose forwards, while Nicola Chase has transferred to the side of the scrum having made her debut on the wing last year.
The backs have plenty of experience with former Black Ferns halfback Kristina Sue along with the likes of Winiata, Mayes, Vaughan and Lauren Balsillie.
Kalyn Takitimu-Cook and Carys Dallinger will be worth keeping an eye on after impressive debut seasons last year.
The Cyclones campaign kicks off on September 6 against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe – one of four games which will be televised on Sky TV.
Their first home game is against Waikato on September 14 against Waikato at 1pm at Central Energy Trust Arena.
There is one player to be added to the Cyclones squad.
* All players are asked to assemble at the Rugby Performance Centre at 5.30pm Tuesday for photos. Please make sure to bring clean boots. You will also need a notebook and pen. Please contact Warren Stent 0272305000 if you have any questions.
The team has
Nicci Kuiti Kia Toa
Marilyn Live Kia Toa
Sequita Hemingway Kia Toa
Sosoli Talawadua Massey
Khali Tipene Kia Toa
Jayme Nuku Kia Toa
Jessica Fagan-Pease Kia Toa
Kahurangi Sturmey Massey
Ashleigh Knight FOBO
Mahalia Polson Kia Toa
Ngano Tavake Massey
Sam Olsen FOBO
Sam Tipene Kia Toa
Layla Sae Massey
Tiana Davison Kia Toa
Nicola Chase FOBO
Kaipo Olsen-Baker FOBO
Lucy Brown FOBO
Kristina Sue FOBO
Corrineke Windle FOBO
Carys Dallinger Kia Toa
Shanna Porima Kia Toa
Janna Vaughan Kia Toa
Maggie Leota Kia Toa
Lauren Balsillie FOBO
Kalyn Takitimu-Cook FOBO
Rangi-Marie Sturmey Massey
Selica Winiata Kia Toa
Crystal Mayes Kia Toa