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Big step up for Wai-Bush

Navengka Valakvi was a dangerous runner for Wai-Bush in their big win over Whanganui. PHOTOS/FILE


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Two Manawatu Cyclones will strengthen the Wairarapa-Bush women for their second game of the season against a talented Manawatu Development Team at Trust House Memorial Park today.

Former Dutch international Annemieke van Vliet and Sam Tipene were part of the Cyclones side that easily defeated Hawke’s Bay 55-12 in the Farah Palmer Cup championship final last Saturday.

The pair will add depth and experience to a young Wai-Bush side, who brushed aside Whanganui 62-15 but will face a much sterner test against the talented development team.

Bex Mahoney’s experience and composure will be vital for Wai-Bush against the Manawatu Development Team.

Van Vliet will fill the tighthead prop role, and Tipene will play in the loose forward trio. Former Black Fern Bex Mahoney will again control play from first-five, and her cool head will be crucial in guiding the team around the paddock.

Wai-Bush co-coach Scott Collins said the team are pretty strong but would need to be against the visitors.

“Manawatu will be a big step up from last week. They have a few fringe FPC players, the ones who didn’t get much game time or are in the greater squad and didn’t get many games in the year, plus a few Under-18 players,” said Collins.

“They have quite a strong Under-18 programme over there with Manukura and Feilding High School contributing a few players.

“We’re definitely expecting a bit more experience and a faster-paced game, and it will be a good little yardstick for us. The girls are fizzing, and they’re all keen to get out there and play.”

The game will be played in quarters and will kick off at Memorial Park at 11.30am today.

Probable Wairarapa-Bush squad: Tiffany May, Sam Marriott, Navengka Valakvi, Paige Walker, Katrina ‘Rabbit’ Terrey, Rebecca Mahoney, Darian Walker, Sam Tipene, Brodee Walker, Xanthe Somerville, Katarina Matapuku, Victoria Parr, Monique Kloeg, Annemieke van Vliet, Casie Haeata, Waireka Collings.

Replacements: Renae White, Aaliyah Savaliga, Lizzie Somerville, Jodi Taureka, Bridget Gavigan, Missy Williams, Olivia Giddens, Lily Irwin.

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