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Thirteen new caps in Hurricanes Poua as Leti-i’iga ruled out

New Hurricanes Poua lock Sam Taylor in action for the Manawatū 7s team on Saturday. Taylor and several of her teamnates have been selected as first time Hurricanes Women’s players.

There will be 13 new players lining up in the 2024 Hurricanes Women’s Poua team, but the Rolls Royce of women’s rugby try-scorers Ayesha Leti-L’iga won’t be among them.

The former Porirua College and Ories Rugby World Cup winner missed this year’s entire Women’s NPC season for the Wellington Pride and has been ruled out for next year’s Super Rugby Aupiki with an ACL knee injury.

Wellington wing Harmony Kautai is the one new player in the squad set to emulate her, with the bulk of the new players coming from the Manawatū Cyclones.

These new players from the Palmerston North area selected are prop Marilyn Fanoga, lock Sam Taylor, hooker Te Uarangi Olsen-Baker (sister of No. 8 Kaipo), flanker Elinor Plum-King, halfback Paige Lush, outside back Holly-Rae Mete and outside back Kalyn Takitimu-Cook who is returning from a stint in Japan.

Hawke’s Bay prop Tori Iosefo and midfielder Leilani Hakiwai are two other new players.

Both first-fives are new to the Poua and both are from outside the region and both from Canterbury – Te Rauoriwa Gapper and Hannah King.

Of the Wellington contingent, just lock Jackie Patea-Fereti, flanker Maddie Feuanati and World Cup winner Joanah Ngan-Woo – listed as a loose forward and not a lock – midfielder Monica Tagoai and wing Kautai are in the squad.

Hurricanes Poua Head Coach Ngatai Walker will add one more contracted player to this squad of 30.

Walker, who is in charge while regular Head Coach Victoria Grant is away on maternity leave, said he is excited about the make-up of the squad believing it has the potential to produce many future Black Ferns.

“We’re introducing some exciting new talent into the squad with a lot of power and X-factor, so I am very excited about getting to work with these players. We have players like Shakira Baker on board who’s been huge for women’s rugby and will no doubt be a huge inspiration for a lot of the players. I’m also excited that in two or three years we’ll see quite a few of the squad pushing for Black Ferns places, which is what we want.”

The Hurricanes Poua squad will be gathering for a connection camp in December and will return for pre-season camps in January-February, after the Christmas break.

Super Rugby Aupiki kicks off on Saturday, 2 March with the full draw to be announced next week.

Hurricanes Poua 2024 Super Rugby Aupiki Squad

*New Players


Marilyn Fanoga (nee Live) (Manawatū) *
Tori Iosefo (Hawke’s Bay) *
Leilani Perese (Counties-Manukau)
Cilia-Marie Po’e-Tofaeono (Auckland)

Tamia Edwards (Hawke’s Bay) *
Te Uarangi Olsen-Baker (Manawatū) *
Cristo Tofa (Auckland)

Jackie Patea-Fereti (Wellington)
Rachael Rakatau (Manawatū)
Kahurangi Sturmey (Manawatū)
Samantha Taylor (Manawatū) *

Loose Forwards
Maddie Feaunati (Wellington)
Rhiarna Ferris (Manawatū)
Joanah Ngan-Woo (Wellington)
Elinor Plum-King (Manawatū) *
Layla Sae (Manawatū)


Iritana Hohaia (Taranaki)
Paige Lush (Manawatū) *

Te Rauoriwa Gapper (Canterbury) *
Hannah King (Canterbury) *

Shakira Baker (Japan)
Teilah Ferguson (Hawke’s Bay)
Leilani Hakiwai (Hawke’s Bay) *
Rangimarie Sturmey (Manawatū)
Monica Tagoai (Wellington)

Outside Backs
Harmony Kautai (Wellington) *
Holly-Rae Mete (Manawatū) *
Kalyn Takitimu-Cook (Japan) *
Isabella Waterman (Canterbury)

Not considered for selection due to injury
Ayesha Leti-i’iga (Wellington)

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