Mon, May 20, 2024 10:00 AM

Waimea Old Boys also for the Women


Jack Malcolm

Waimea Old Boy's Women's team captain, Stephani Mitchell, believes the club is the most supportive of women's rugby in the region.

"Waimea was the first club to really recognise our game milestones," she says.

"It's the best club in the region to support their women's team and it's definitely noticed by the players."

But Stephani, who has 12 years of experience in senior rugby and has played approximately 20 more games than the rest of the team combined, acknowledges that there is still work to be done to improve the women's game.

"It's a bit lagging behind in the region in the women's space, but the building up is coming.

"The younger kids are coming in, they're coming to camps and you see the growth in that space."

She says it will be exciting to see when these junior players start filtering into the premier scene, but for now they are still left a few building blocks short of a full set.

With their last scheduled game a win by default, the last time the team took the field was 10-a-side loss against Marist, with Waimea unable to field a full squad with injuries sidelining a wealth of experienced players, like Bethan Manners.

The Mako fullback is out for the season with injury, but Stephani says she's still in the picture after stepping into a coaching role with the team this season.

While the team took a 31-52 loss from the game, there were still positives as they took a 26-17 lead into halftime before the wheels fell off with zero bench players to fall back on for tired legs.

Stephani says it's a building year for the team, with a number of younger players they're eager to develop into strong senior players.

"It's all about connections, building and having a good time.

"We have a good mix of some old girls and some young girls from the representative and U18 teams that are new to prems."

Stephani says they've put a lot of work into connecting as a team, which has also created friendships off the field.

"Three of our girls live together, and we're always keen to catch up for a coffee with each other or have dinner after training.

"We want to build that connection with the younger girls and the club. We have a keg race against the men's team [at the aftermatch] tonight.

"We're reigning champions [over the boys' team] after last season, so there are high expectations.

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