The Women’s second round club rugby competition starts this coming weekend and the Avalon She-Wolves are looking forward to getting stuck into the next phase of the season.
Avalon will play in the Izzy Ford Cup (Division 2 competition) – alongjust ahead of Poneke in the first round.
But the results alone don’t tell the story of where the team is at. They had some close losses, including a 34-43 defeat in round seven to Northern United who went on to win the first round Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy the next week.
“That was on our Old Timers’ Day,” said assistant coach Ben Peni, “it was good for the girls to give Norths a good go – it really showed the potential in the team.”
Ben is coaching the team this year, alongside head coach Aaron Falloon and Fred Pule. Peni was starting second five-eighth of the Avalon men’s team up until recently when he blew his Achilles for the season, while Aaron is a former Premier Coach.
“We have got almost 30 registered players in our squad,” continued Peni. “But managing injuries has been a problem and we just managed to field a team Saturdays in the first round.”
The short break between rounds has helped, with some players that have previously been sidelined set to come back for the second round.
“We had a de-brief, looking at our goals for the coming round and we train Mondays and Wednesdays so hopefully we can have a positive second round, “said Peni.
Almost half this year’s Avalon She-Wolves team are new to rugby in 2018.
“Many of our girls have never played rugby before. So plenty of players in our squad are giving rugby a go this season for the first time.”
The new players aren’t necessarily young either – some being early to mid-20s.
Five of the squad have come across from Wainuiomata who went into abeyance at the start of the season. These players are Wellington Pride duo Kiri Mei and Brooke Tauaneai, sisters Myra and Marnina Tuiafiso and MAC Collins. Senior players include Wellington Pride duo, loose forward Kiri Mei and prop Brooke Tauaneai. Myra is just in her second season (one season for Wainuiomata) and has been playing well.
Black Ferns Sevens representative Kat Whata-Simpkins is another long-term Avalon player, but she hasn’t been with the team this year.
Peni said that Avalon learnt from a couple of big defeats in the first round. “We took a lot of positives out of those games. It is easy to get down or get de-motivated from those games but we have made sure that as coaches that they can take the positives. It is all about keeping good spirits and making sure that they know it is not all about the winning and losing.”