For one day a small Bay of Plenty town became the place to be for women's rugby as the Bay of Plenty under-18 girls and Volcanix took on their Waikato counterparts in Matata.

The weather played its part, as did the locals who showed out in force to enjoy an afternoon of footy.

The Bay of Plenty under-18s set the scene early on, with a 29-10 win over Waikato.

Unfortunately for the Volcanix, they were unable to follow suit. In their second game of the Farah Palmer Cup Premiership they were plagued by handling errors as they went down 44-7 to Waikato.


Witth the victory, the Waikato women's team became the first to lift the Chiefs Country Cup, which was introduced this year and is contested by the four Chiefs provincial unions.

The Volcanix were the dominant side for the first half hour of the match. They had Waikato camped deep in their own territory, largely thanks to lock Amanda Aldridge wreaking havoc with the opposition lineout, winning several against the throw.

Despite their dominance and the freedom with which their backs were attacking the defensive line, whenever the Volcanix looked likely to score they let themselves down with handling errors or wayward passes.

The home side began to look frustrated, unable to find a way through a strong Waikato defensive line, and 30 minutes into the game it was Waikato who opened the scoring. They won a penalty in front of the posts which first five and vice captain Chelsea Alley slotted for a 3-0 lead.

The Bay of Plenty Volcanix substitutes cheer on their teammates in Matata on Saturday. Photo / Shannon Gray
The Bay of Plenty Volcanix substitutes cheer on their teammates in Matata on Saturday. Photo / Shannon Gray

Alley kicked another penalty minutes later to make it 6-0, and all of a sudden Waikato had all the momentum. They put together countless phases inside the Bay of Plenty 22m and the defence by the Volcanix was heroic, however right on the cusp of halftime Waikato broke through. Flanker Ash Gaby-Sutherland received the ball in space and stepped through a big gap to score under the posts. Alley nailed the conversion and Waikato led 13-0 at the break.

The Volcanix started the second half like they did the first, on the attack deep inside Waikato territory. Unfortunately, they were again unable to turn that dominance into points.

Once more, having absorbed the pressure, Waikato went on attack and 10 minutes into the half second five Ryleigh Hayes scored on the back of a well worked shift to the left,extending the lead to 18-0.

Bay of Plenty were not going down without a fight, however, and minutes later they finally found a way across the tryline. After several phases inside the Waikato 22m, halfback Jade Tuilaepa took off from the back of a ruck and scored next to the posts. The try was converted and the lead reduced to 18-7.


In the last 20 minutes the floodgates opened for Waikato against a tiring Volcanix defence. They added tries to prop Grace Houpapa-Barrett, Alley, substitute Calista Wihone and a second to Hayes for what was a comfortable 44-7 victory in the end.

Volcanix coach Brendon Webby said he could not fault the effort of his side.

"There was intent there, they tried hard. I think in that first 25 minutes, when we pretty much had all the possession and territory, when you don't capitalise on that it makes it tough. But, Waikato were a bloody good opposition and you can't take that away from them either."

Despite the loss, he said the performance was an improvement on the previous week against Canterbury.

"That's going to be the lesson for us this year, just making sure we continue to improve. You just can't afford to make that many errors against good opposition. This will test our culture and our bond, but we'll bounce back and get stuck in again next week."