Stingrays eye Vipers for title

Press Release – New Zealand Rugby League

Stingrays eye Vipers for title

Champions Counties Manukau are showing the field a clean pair of heels in their defence of the NZ Women’s National Tournament title, but face an unexpected challenge over tomorrow’s final stages at Manurewa’s Mountfort Park.

Through three games on the event’s opening day, the South Aucklanders refused to concede a point to their opponents, while averaging slightly less than 60 points a game themselves against Canterbury, Akarana and Wellington.

With Kiwi Ferns speedster Sarina Fiso scoring tries and international goalkicker Laura Mariu locked onto the posts, the Stingrays juggernaut showed they will take some beating.

Joining Fiso on five tries was Debbie-Atawahi Tupaea, with 14 others crossing the line during the course of the day.

Their closest contest came against northern rivals Akarana, who might also have been favoured to make the tournament final, but could get no closer than 36 points.

And the Falcons’ championship hopes took another blow late in the programme, when they fell to a surprising Mid Central outfit, also unbeaten after three rounds.

After disptaching the Auckland Invitation side 42-0 in their opener, the Vipers overran Canterbury 40-12 and then showed their steel by outlasting Akarana 28-16, leading only 12-10 at the break.

If they can overcome Wellington in the morning, Mid Central will face Counties in the final preliminary round and then have to back up against the Stingrays again in the title game.

New Kiwi Ferns coach Rusty Matua will name his first national squad after this tournament, hoping to turn the tables on 2013 World Cup champions Australia later this year at Wollongong.

NZ Women’s National Tournament

Mountfort Park, Manurewa

Saturday, May 31

Akarana 36 (Vanessa Molia Fraser 2, Kendall Ager, Tiffany Faaee, Georgia Hale, Ariana Filivaa, Jodi Matene tries; Alice Vailea four goals) Wellington 20 (Kulaea Lea, Ruby Finau, Raukawa Tuahuru, Elieta Taito tries; Finau two goals), HT: 8-16

Counties Manukau 70 (Sarina Fiso 3, Debbie-Atawhai Tupaea 2, Leanne Gardner 2, Maitua Feterika, Idaho Purcell, Kelly Maipi, Teuila Foto Moala, Victoria Apulu, Kaysha Thompson tries; Laura Mariu nine goals) Canterbury 0, HT: 44-0

Mid Central 42 (Crystal Mayes 3, Ebony Low 2, Cindy Ries-Rupapera, Tori Lavvao-Araia, Amy Williams tries; Williams three goals) Auckland Invitational 0, HT: 22-0

Mid Central 40 (Crystal Mayes 2, Janna Vaughan 2, Rawinia Mason, Rikki Rawleigh, Chanel Huddleson, Krystal Murray tries; Amy Williams four goals) Canterbury 12 (Deena Mackie, Enna Elia tries; Elia, Jessica Clark goals), HT: 26-6

Wellington 24 (Marina Soloa 2, Leah Vila, Ake Pereira, Ruby Finau tries; Finau two goals) Auckland Invitational 6 (Neta Muuausalo try; Lily Maumau goal), HT: 18-0

Counties Manukau 36 (Debbie-Atawhai Tupaea 2, Kaysha Thompson 2, Te Aroha Hapuka, Shontelle Dudley, Maitua Federika, Teuila Foto Moala tries; Laura Mariu two goals) Akarana 0, HT: 14-0

Auckland Invitational 26 (Jocephy Daniels 2, Kylie Porter, Lileta Maumau, May Apulu tries; Sea Sao Taliu three goals) Canterbury 8 (Stacey Lene two tries), HT: 8-4

Mid Central 28 (Tori Lavvao-Araia 3, Cindy Ries-Rupapera 2, Amy Williams, Ebony Low tries) Akarana 16 (Uinise Tulimaiau, Charlotte Scanlan, Tasha Tapu tries; Alice Vailea two goals), HT: 12-10

Counties Manukau 72 (Te Aroha Hapuku 3, Sarina Fiso 2, Shantelle Dudley, Debbie-Atawahi Tupaea, Kimiora Nati, Rona Peters, Kelly Maipi, Hilda Peters, Kelly Leota, Leanne Gardner tries; Laura Mariu 10 goals) Wellington 0, HT: 44-0

ends

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