In one of three Hurricanes region rugby finals on Saturday, Feilding High School and Aotea College meet at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North. The winner progresses to the National Top 4 Finals in Rotorua next weekend.
Feilding, who are coming off a recent 17-27 loss to defending National champions Hamilton Girls’ High School, will be extremely tough to beat. They are perennial contenders in this competition, and amongst other players, current Black Ferns 7s captain Sarah Goss is a former player of this team.
For the Aotea College team, it’s been a four-year journey to reach this final. Representing Wellington In 2012, they lost 70-0 to the then New Zealand champions Feilding High School in this corresponding match. At the time, Wellington only played 10-a side girl’s rugby and Manawatu played full 15-a side competition. Then Wellington champions Naenae College couldn’t field enough players to make the trip, so Aotea College put their hand up to go instead.
Aotea College coach Findlay Malaga Mali'i Siania, who also coached their 2012 team, explained that this year there are seven survivors who were Year 9s in that first year. These players being: captain Phoenix Collins, vice-captain Eve Siania, Alia Ah far, Xavier Tusa-Litia, Lui-Lesina, Obeda-Luama, Tuimaualuga-Teana, and Aliva
“After winning the Wellington Secondary School Premier 1 final last week we are ready for Saturday's 2015 final,” said Findlay. “Six Aotea College Wellington U18s players were released to play this game as it clashes with the Wellington’s schoolgirls representative team taking on Bay of Plenty in Taihape.
“Everyone at Aotea is excited, and for those that played in 2012 they are amped and ready for the showdown against a very good Fielding team.
“It has been a long journey for most but having three Year 9s and a clutch of year 10s-11s and 12s Aotea is looking in good shape for seasons to come.”
The experience of Aotea’s captain Phoenix Collins – a member of this year’s victorious Northern United Wellington club title winning women’s side and niece of Helen, Brenda, and the late Jerry – will also be critical if they are to cause what would be considered an upset result.
Meanwhile, Hamilton Girls’ High School play Opotiki College in the Chiefs region final this weekend.
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