Saturday saw the close of the Kauri's inaugural season in the Farah Palmer Cup but for head coach Cheryl Smith, it's only the beginning.

The Northland women's rugby team, who reformed after the return of club rugby to the region this year, fought valiantly against a talented Hawke's Bay Tui team in Napier in their championship semifinal, but couldn't qualify for the big dance, losing 46-31.

Read more: Kauri fall after blockbuster start

The result showed marked improvement from their first game of the season in early September against the Tui who won, 64-31. In fact, Northland led for much

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