CHIEFS MANAWA PRIMED AND READY

Chiefs Manawa head coach Crystal Kaua has enjoyed having an extra day to prepare for Sunday’s Aupiki women’s Super rugby semifinal against Hurricanes Poua.

TRY TIME Speedy winger Georgia Daals a big danger for the Hurricanes Poua defence

Chiefs Manawa, the defending champions, romped through round-robin play unbeaten, downing Hurricanes Poua 53-21, the Blues 50-33 and last week saw off the challenge of Matatu 46-38.

However despite winning all three matches, coach Kaua pointed out they had faced challenges in each of those matches either from a slow start and having to come back from behind as in their first match against Hurricanes Poua and they’ve had lapses late in a game conceding tries.

One thing about this Chiefs Manawa side is their preparation is meticulous and Kaua praised the work of her support coaches and staff in ensuring no stone is left unturned heading into the knockout phase.

The defending champs are certainly not one dimensional. Their forward pack led by a powerhouse front row of Tanya Kalounivale, Kate Henwood and try-scoring hooker Luka Connor plus abrasive number eight Kennedy Simon, have dominated their opposition in every match to date.

DEMOLITION JOB Black Ferns World champion Tanya Kalounivale on the charge

On top of that, first-five Hazel Tubic has guided the team around the park superbly, varying her tactics, while the lethal back three of wingers Georgia Daals and Mererangi Paul have been prolific try-scorers and combine superbly with classy fullback, former Black Ferns sevens star Tenika Willison.

Most people, including Crystal Kaua said an expanded competition is vital for the future of the women’s game and as well as more matches against the New Zealand sides she’s very keen to see Australian teams come on board and a Pacific Islands side in future.

HAZEL AT THE HELM Chiefs Manawa looking for another master class from their outstanding first five Hazel Tubic

Tomorrow’s (Sunday) semifinals are at Albany in Auckland, the other semifinal features Matatu v the Blues, their round-robin clash saw Matatu scrape home 33-31.

Listen to my (John Alexander) interview with Crystal Kaua as she talks semifinals, her team’s chances and her hopes for the future of women’s Super Rugby Aupiki.

Interview & Story by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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