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Women's rugby records under the microscope

Women's rugby records under the microscope

Selica Winiata may hold most of Manawatū’s women’s rugby records, but her statistics may be missing a year due to a lack of information around the early years of women’s rugby.

The Cyclones captain is credited with 85 games for the province and a debut in 2002.

Yet the Green & White book on the history of the lists her as debuting for the province as a 14-year-old in 2001.

While her memory of her first outing in green and white is foggy, Winiata said she remembers her first match being in Whanganui in 2001.

A newspaper clipping from the Manawatū Standard in 2001 also includes a picture of Winiata, then a halfback, alongside three other school girls – Catherine Doyle, Maia Tua-Davidson and now first-class referee Rebecca Mahoney (nee Hull).

Yet it is not surprising that Winiata’s game total may be off.

Rugby historian and co-editor of the New Zealand Rugby Almanack Clive Akers said that there was limited reporting of teamlists and scores for Manawatū women’s matches between 1990 and 2002.

Akers’ research shows Winiata’s first game was likely against Central Combined in 2001 and she may have up to four games that season that are not credited in her records. There may be more games missing from her official stats from the 2002 season when she is credited with just one appearance.

The lack of numbers was highlighted recently with Manawatū Rugby’s project to assign representative numbers to Cyclones players.

The first first-class provincial game of rugby played by Manawatū was in 1999, but Akers said numbering the players should go back to the first provincial match played by Manawatū women back in 1980.

“We cannot ignore the pioneers of the 1990s who steadily developed women’s rugby to the point that the union could participate in the national championship from 1999,” he said.

But locating the information from the matches will likely come down to the images, records or memorablia that players, coaches and management between 1990 and 2002 may hold.

Akers’ information compiled so far for this period is available on the HERE.

Anyone with information including teamlists and scores for this period can email shaune@manawaturugby.co.nz