The Bay of Plenty Volcanix have all the firepower required for free flowing, attacking rugby this year and head coach Rodney Gibbs is giving them license to do just that.
The Volcanix have improved steadily during the last few seasons, maintaining their place in the top tier of the Farah Palmer Cup and narrowly missing out on a semifinals spot last year.
This year, Covid-19 and changing alert level restrictions see a later start to the competition and a brand new structure. Rather than a Premiership and Championship, the teams have been split into North and South pools to reduce travel.
At the end of the round-robin the top two from each pool will play crossover semifinals to find the finalists. This means the Volcanix avoid Premiership winners Canterbury in pool play but do have to contend with powerhouses Auckland and Counties Manukau.
Gibbs said the preseason had been disrupted but it was the same situation for everyone and the team was just grateful for the opportunity to get on to the field.
"It's a bit up and down but we're happy to be out there playing, a lot of people in the world can't do that at the moment so we're taking the positives."
This year's Volcanix squad has been bolstered by several Black Ferns Sevens players, who have been released to play due to the disruption of the World Sevens series schedule.
The inclusion of Kelly Brazier, Mahina Paul, Alena Saili, Risi Pouri-Lane and Michaela Blyde adds extra international experience to the mix, together with the Black Ferns 15s players, Les Elder, Kelsie Wills, Renee Wickliffe and Luka Connor.
"It's taking some time [to gel]. Everyone's come from different environments and everything's a bit different this year but I think they're starting to come together.
"We're on a bit of a journey of growing the women's game and we just want to continue that. As long as we're making progress each year that's great, we've brought in a number of young girls so we want to develop a good base for the future of women's rugby here.
"You can't underestimate the value [of having national representatives in the side]. Some of the younger ones' eyes are probably open pretty wide, being around those types of ladies but as they settle in they'll learn plenty. It's great for those ladies coming in to grow their leadership as well," Gibbs said.
He said the Black Ferns Sevens players added another dimension to the team but they would also be the first to admit 15-aside was a totally different game.
"You're not going to have the same impact as you would on the sevens field, it's a different game. But they bring that professionalism and fitness.
"The North pool will be very competitive but in the context of the year this is the way the competition needs to be. We just have to get on with it, I think there's potential for some surprises, all the teams will have their day I'm sure."
He said for the season to be considered a success he wanted to see the team improve.
"I'd like to see us play some really entertaining rugby to be honest. I think we have a team that can do that and if they continue to gel and grow some confidence, we'll score some bloody good tries.
"Within reason, that's what we want to see, it's not a game of touch, we still understand the basics of the game - defend well, turn the ball over and create opportunities to score."
The Farah Palmer Cup kicked off at the weekend but the Volcanix started with the bye. They begin their campaign away against North Harbour at 4.35pm on Friday.
2020 Bay of Plenty Volcanix home games:
v Waikato, Saturday, September 19, 4.35pm, Rotorua International Stadium.
v Taranaki, Saturday, September 26, 2pm, Blake Park, Mount Maunganui.
v Northland, Saturday, October 17, 2pm, Blake Park, Mount Maunganui.