Three debutants for Cyclones season opener
Six players have been named to start their first match for the Manawatū Cyclones in their
match against Taranaki at 2.05pm at Central Energy Trust Arena on Saturday.
Rachael Rakatau will captain the team for the first time with fellow co-captain Selica Winiata away at the Olympics to referee.
The match will be first career starts for prop Ngano Tavake, centre Kaia-Hayes Walker-Waitoa and wing Alesha Williams.
The trio were all in the team last season, but made all of their appearances off the bench.
Prop Annemeieke van Vliet, flanker Elinor-Plum King and wing Holly-Rae Mete-Renata will all start on debut for the Cyclones.
King and Mete-Renata were two of the standouts of the Prue Christie Cup club campaign and the Plumbing World Women’s Model for Feilding Old Boys-Ōroua.
Van Vliet was a top performer for Bush during the club season and will add to her impressive career which includes international rugby for Netherlands and provincial rugby with Otago and Wairarapa Bush.
The team features three comebacks on the bench with Mahalia Polson, Jessica Fagan-Pease and Lauren Balsillie returning to the team after missing the 2020 campaign.
Polson will shift from lock to prop this season, while Fagan-Pease was a standout in preseason and Balsillie adds depth in the midfield.
- Ngano Tavake (CloudFocus)
- Jayme Nuku (Glenn Carroll Transport)
- Annemeieke Van Vliet (WebTech)
- Kahurangi Sturmey (LW Electrical)
- Rachael Rakatau (captain) (Ebony Coffee)
- Sam Tipene (Liz Kane Literacy)
- Elinor-Plum King (Junction Wines)
- Layla Sae (Not Now James Catering)
- Lucy Brown (Totalspan)
- Carys Dallinger (Dallinger Holdings Ltd)
- Holly-Rae Mete-Renata (Speedy Signs)
- Janna Michal Vaughan (Bevan’s Potatoes)
- Kaia-Hayes Walker-Waitoa (Breakers)
- Alesha Williams (100% Leader & Watt)
- Crystal Mayes (A&P Trucking)
- Mahalia Polson (Geoff Thompson Keep Well)
- Katelyn Donaldson (Geoff Thompson Keep Well)
- Ashleigh Knight (MKM Originals)
- Caterina Poletti (Melody’s New World)
- Jessica Fagan-Pease (Naylor Lawrence & Associates)
- Paige Lush (Pita Pita Cuba St)
- Lauren Basillie (Black & Co Leather)
- Laura Claridge (SeeHer BeHer)