No Hirini for Hurricanes Poua as Super Rugby Aupiki squads revealed

Krystal Murray will play for the Hurricanes Poua in 2023. Picture: RNZ

The Hurricanes Poua will be without Black Ferns World Cup winner Sarah Hirini for next year’s Super Rugby Aupiki competition.

Hirini, last season’s captain, is not among the players in the Hurricanes squad for 2023 which was named on Monday.

Her omission is due to her commitments with the Black Ferns Sevens team. The second round of next year’s Super Rugby Aupiki is scheduled for the same week as the Canada Sevens tournament in Vancouver.

With three final players set to be announced in early December, the Hurricanes contracted squad includes eight exciting new signings, nine players with international experience, and three Black Ferns from the 2021 Rugby World Cup winning side.

Hurricanes Head Coach Victoria Grant said: “It’s been an amazing process selecting our squad. Selection was a key focus when I first came onboard, so it’s been an exciting time.

33-test Black Fern Aroha Savage will make her Poua debut adding international impact to the forwards.

Joining Savage is Black Ferns prop, Krystal Murray.

Other new players joining the squad include utility Isabella Waterman, front-rowers, Cilia-Marie Po’e-Tofaeono and Cristo Tofa, and Wellington Pride teammates, Milly Mackey, Maddie Feaunati and Bernadette Robertson.

Among those returning to the side is try-scoring machine, Ayesha Leti-I’iga and lock, Joanah Ngan-Woo, both of whom played stand-out roles in the Black Ferns winning the 2021 Rugby World Cup.

“Joanah, Ayesha and Krystal all played amazingly throughout the whole [Black Ferns] campaign.

“All our Black Ferns will contribute hugely, on and off the field. Bringing that [the experience of the Black Ferns] into our environment is just going to take our team to another level,” said Grant.

2023 Super Rugby Aupiki kicks off on Saturday 25 February, with the Hurricanes Poua taking on the Chiefs Manawa in the competition opener at Levin Domain.

The Hurricanes Poua contracted squad is:

Forwards:

Saphire Abraham

Maddie Feaunati *

Rhiarna Ferris

Krystal Murray *

Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate

Joanah Ngan-Woo

Kaipo Olsen-Baker

Jackie Patea-Fereti

Leilani Perese

Cilia-Marie Po’e-Tofaeono *

Rachel Rakatau

Layla Sae

Aroha Savage *

Kahurangi Sturmey

Cristo Tofa *

Backs:

Carys Dallinger

Teilah Ferguson

Iritana Hohaia

Ayesha Leti-I’iga

Milly Mackey *

Crystal Mayes

Bernadette Robertson *

Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali

Monica Tagoai

Isabella Waterman *

*Newly contracted Hurricanes Poua

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