Hastings Rugby and Sports will be among 21 teams in the men's grade where defending champions Havelock North will start as favourites. With 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Tafai Ioasa turning out during a stint home from Japan the Hastings side, like last year's runners-up Auckland-based Lomaiviti, and Manawatu Fijians is capable of reaching the semifinals.
Fifteen teams including defending champions Tawa will compete in the colts grade. After winning the Greytown title last weekend the Tom Blake-coached Havelock North side will be all out to go one step better than last year's second placing when they were pipped 22-21 by Tawa in the final.
With Eketahuna among the six women's teams entered defending champions Clive will have to work hard to retain their title. Multiple world champion with the Black Ferns and former Hawke's Bay Tui Rebecca Mahoney will be the kingpin in the Eketahuna side.
If Hastings Rugby and Sports, with the likes of Julie Ferguson, Shaylee Tipiwai and Ngahuri Thompson on their roster, can play to their potential their chances of title success can't be discounted.