THE Bay of Plenty Volcanix women’s rugby side will open their Farah Palmer Cup campaign at Rugby Park tomorrow.
Premiership side Auckland provide competition for the Bay in round one – which is the first of two crossover rounds between the premiership and the championship.
The Volcanix will compete in the championship division this season, with Hawke’s Bay, Tasman, North Harbour and Otago.
Defending champions Counties-Manukau, Auckland, Wellington, Waikato and Canterbury make up the premiership. Opotiki’s Luka Connor will start at loosehead prop for the Bay.
The Volcanix will return to the same venue, against the same opposition, of a 62-0 defeat last year.
Volcanix coach Brendon Webby said it would be a challenge taking on Auckland.
“All the games are going to be pretty tough. Auckland have the player base and were runners-up last year. We want to show faith in and implement our systems.
“If we can do that the result will take care of itself.”
The Volcanix were win-less in 2016 and struggled to score points and Webby said the team had put a lot into their pre-season work this year.
“We have worked hard to build on the culture of the team that we developed last year.
“We have a couple of experienced campaigners, but generally it is a young side. We want to give them the freedom to express themselves.
“We are not a big side and we want to use the ball and play with some width.”
Webby said he liked the new competition structure and the team was looking forward to playing in Whakatane.
“We love playing down there, the weather is pretty good and hopefully we get a good crowd.”
The competition was named the Farah Palmer Cup last season. Palmer played 35 tests for the Black Ferns and represented Otago, Waikato and Manawatu.
Palmer was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014.
The inaugural Women’s National Provincial Championship was played in 1999, with 14 teams contesting the title.
In 2000 the number of teams increased to 18 and the championship was contested across a first division as well as regional divisions.
This evolved into two divisions for a format that continued to 2005. In 2006 a single competition began and remained until this year.
Volcanix 2017 season
- Week 1 v Auckland, Whakatane
- Week 2 v Hawke’s Bay, Napier
- Week 3 v North Harbour, Rotorua
- Week 4 v Tasman, Tauranga
- Week 5 v Waikato, Hamilton
- Week 6 v Otago, Dunedin