The Wairarapa-Bush Maori senior women’s team have got the jump on their male counterparts winning their section at the Te Tini a Maui Central Maori Rugby Tournament in Masterton this morning.
Wairarapa-Bush beat arch rivals Manawatu 41-5 on a slippery Trust House Memorial Park.
The five tries to one win means that Wairarapa-Bush become the first team to successfully defend the Toko Te Kani Taonga.
Former Black Ferns captain and now New Zealand Rugby (NZR) board director Farah Palmer presented the trophy.
The Te Tini a Maui Central Maori Rugby Tournament is made up of teams from the Hurricanes and Taranaki catchment.
Wairarapa-Bush coach Hera Edwards says she could not be more proud of her girls.
“We were really, really pumped for this and that showed out on the field,” Edwards said after the game.
The might of Manawatu, a powerhouse of central New Zealand women’s rugby, was always going to be a tough opposition for Wairarapa-Bush.
But Edwards said, playing at home and representing Wairarapa Maori was a massive motivator for her players.
One of the stars for the home team was their captain Paige Walker. Playing in the pivotal first-five eighth position, the 18-year old had the added responsibility of being captain.
Edwards says it was a chance for Walker to “really step up”, and she did herself proud.
The experienced Perri Tatana-Williams was vice-captain.
Walker scored two tries, while Tatana-Williams, Kahli Tipene and Destiny Ranger one apiece.
Meanwhile, Wairarapa-Bush senior men rebounded from a 30-3 loss against Te Matau (Hawke’s Bay) this morning to beat Horouta (East Coast) 10-3 this afternoon. With Horouta expected to loss to Te Matau later today, Wairarapa-Bush will likely face a rematch in the final tomorrow against Te Matau. Kick off is scheduled for 11am.
The men will be under pressure to make it three from three in the final for local teams after the Under-18s won their grade, beating East Coast 15-nil first up in the morning and then downing Manawatu 21-15 in the afternoon.