Will a new champion be found when the National Top 4 Girls rugby Finals are played at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North this weekend?
This is the fourth edition of the New Zealand Girls Top 4 Finals, with Feilding High School having won the first two in 2012 and 2013 and Hamilton Girls’ High School the winners in 2014. Both these schools return hoping to add another Hine Pounamu RugbyGIRL Trophy title to their trophy cabinets.
Feilding High School will be representing the Hurricanes region and Hamilton Girls’ High School the Chiefs region. They are joined by Southern Cross Campus College representing the Blues region and Southland Girls’ High School representing the South Island.
This tournament has quickly become the showcase of secondary schoolgirls’ rugby and that which all schoolgirl players aspire to play at, and a player pathway to higher honours such as the Women’s NPC or Sevens competitions and New Zealand teams. Several players this weekend are in 2015 Women’s NPC squads.
The format sees Hamilton Girls’ High School and Southern Cross Campus College meet in one semi-final on Friday and Feilding High School and Southland Girls’ High School play in the other. The teams return on Sunday with the winners from day one playing in the Final to decide the 2015 National Champion and the losers meeting in a third and fourth placed playoff match.
Teams (subject to change):
Southern Cross Campus College (Blues region)
Colours: Black & Teal
Aivaai Moli, Moana Fineaso-Levi, Allis Fotu, Olivia Poloniati Junior, Amelia Tulelei, Oloataua Magele, Ezmeralda Teofilo Fidow, Samotu Fidow-Togia, Fuarosa Leiataua, Sarah Filimoeatu, Idlequinn Tapusoa, Tilia Hifo, Illa Va’a, Toria Kiria, Jaime Patuki, Tufui Lauhingoa, Lee-Ani Togiamua, Tuiala Iakopo, Lesieli Kioa, Vaine Mohematagi, Luti Sikoloni, Vea Tuingamala-Kafoa, Maria Hifo Coach Rod Ratu Assistant Coach Kameli Delana. Manager – Julie Wharton. Assistant Manager Natasha Hemara
In 2015 Southern Cross entered the 1st XV competition for the first time claiming the Auckland Secondary School title. The college has one previous NZ player Mele Hufanga. Moana Fineaso Levi has also been included in the Auckland Storm wider squad
Hamilton Girls’ High School (Chiefs region)
Colours: Black, Maroon & Gold
Ariona Ieremia, Nyesha Hamilton, Calista Wihone, Rianna Aspinall, Chade Mahu, Riria McFadyen-Drummond, Diamond Henry, Roimata Roberts, Honey Wilson, Savon Tovio-Smith, Isla Norman-Bell, Stacey Littleworth, Kanyon Paul, Stephanie Lualua, Kiana Beattie, Tara Kingan, Litara Allan, Tava Tyrell, Lonita Ngalu, Tenika Willison, Makaia Riki-Te Kanawa, Terina Te Tamaki, Ngataua Turinu. Coach: Crystal Kaua, Assistant Coach: Brent Kaua.Manager: Manager: Maree McCarthy. Trainer: Zara Powell
Hamilton Girls’ High School has recently won the Sanix World 7’s, title the Waikato Secondary School Girls’ competition, North Island Secondary School 7’s in both the Under 15 and Under 19 age group along with the Condor 7’s title in 2014. Hamilton Girls’ High School return as the defending champion after last year defeating Southland Girls’ High School in last year’s semi-final and Southern Cross in the final.
Feilding High School (Hurricanes region):
Colours: Navy Blue & Maroon
Ashleigh Knight, Lauren Balsillie, Brooke Hooper, Michaela McNabb, Carys Dallinger, Myah Rata, Corrineke Windle, Nicole Baxter, Devonshire Governor, Samantha Olsen, Elisha Byrne, Sarah Swinbanks, Eva Fifita Tovo, Sarah Talumepa, Georgia Ponsonby, Sharvarne Hislop, Hinekura Connor Phillips, Shayden Tipu, Jannah Rowden, Shyanna Tipu, Laura Claridge, Wikitoria Haureki. Coach: Coach Robert Jones. Assistant Coach: Richie Nimmo. Manager: Glenda Higginson
Girls rugby has been played at Feilding High School since 2003. In that short time they have produced four New Zealand representatives, Mallory Townsend (NZ Sevens 2009) and Sarah Goss, Hayley Hutana, Crystal Mayes (NZ Sevens) with the addition of Amy Cokayne who has more recently played for England. Feilding also have four current Manawatu Cyclones players in their squad. Feilding have won the Hurricanes title for seven consecutive years and they return to the National Top 4 alongside Southland Girls’ High School who have both competed in the tournament since its inception.
Southland Girls’ High School (Southern region)
Colours: Red & Blue
Alena Saili, Laura Molloy, Alex Bodle,Lauren Brown, Aly Doherty, Lauren Christie, Amy du Plessis, Lilly Tomlins, Arnika Thompson-TeMuunu, Meg Paterson, Bree Thomas, Molly Wheeley, Emma Dermody, Patricia Hopcroft, Jessica Dermody, Rebecca Paseta, Kate Black, Simone Caughey, Kate Cochrane, Sipa Saili, Kayla Brocks, Utuao Peseta, Kendall Buckingham, Zeenaveda Niven. Coach: Nathan Muir Assistant Coach: Tony Paterson. Manager: Nicola Hawkes. Assistant Manager: Maima Afutu
Southland Girls’ High School attended the inaugural Top 4 in 2012 since this time they have gone on to win both the Southland and South Island Schools championship every year including 2015. Southland Girls’ can boast Casey Robertson as a previous Black Fern. Rugby has been strong in the school since 1996. There are two team members who are current members of the Southland Rugby Academy (Alena Saili and Patricia Hopcroft).
· Friday: 12.00pm Chiefs v Blues Arena Field No. 3; 2.00pm Hurricanes v South Island Arena Field No. 3
· Sunday: 10.00am 3rd Place v 4th place Arena Field No.2; 12.05pm Final Arena Oval