Rugby: Harbour to field team in Women's Provincial Championship

Harbour's women's development officer Chelsea Alley. Photo / Getty
Harbour's women's development officer Chelsea Alley. Photo / Getty

For the first time in a decade, North Harbour will have a representative team in the later this season.

This is a big step for the women's game in the union, something that has both prospective coaches and players excited.

"Obviously we have a lot to put together to bring this to fruition, including appointments of the coaching and management team and the process of identifying and selecting an initial squad," said former North Harbour No 8 Bill Wigglesworth, the current union's women's sevens coach. He took the team to eighth place at last month's national provincial sevens tournament.

"It's exciting for all involved. I know the girls within the sevens campaign were really excited to hear the news, and we have already had contact from others who have indicated their interest."

Harbour's women's development officer Chelsea Alley, a regular in both Harbour and New Zealand teams, is also thrilled: "This is a giant step forward.

This will enable us to retain more talent within this region, give the younger girls something to aspire to and attract others into the game. We are all really looking forward to it."

Planning has already started with the first step being the formation of the off-field team.

The promotion of North Harbour to the WPC follows some encouraging form shown by the 2015 rep side, the Hibiscus, who defeated a strong Auckland Thunder combination and a Bay of Plenty Development team following victory in an invitational tournament.

Glenfield and East Coast Bays are the two North Harbour clubs with established women's teams and they played in the Auckland Development competition in 2015. It is hoped more clubs will field women's premier teams following this latest news.

North Harbour last featured in the 2005 women's division two North Island championship, going 0-5, but proving competitive at times.

The 2015 WPC featured nine teams, so North Harbour's inclusion would remove the need for a bye.

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