Championship table-toppers the Bay of Plenty Volcanix face their longest away trip of the season when they take on second-placed Otago in Dunedin today.

There will be no excuses for handling errors under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium and assistant coach Mike Lewis said he expected the game to be played at pace.

"It will be quick I think. A few girls have played in the stadium down there before and looking at some of [Otago's] tape they tend to play a quick game, but that's right up our alley as well. So fast and physical hopefully.

"Getting the physicality up and speeding the ball up at the breakdown has been a real work-on for us this week. We're making small improvements week in, week out. We're not the finished product yet, but it's probably not the right time of year to be the finished product. We're getting there fast though," Lewis said.


The Volcanix are eight points ahead of Otago in the Championship. At the end of the round robin second and third will play each other for a spot in the final against the first-place finisher. A Bay of Plenty win today will cement top spot and a spot in the final.

Lewis said the positives that came out of his side's 19-17 loss to Waikato last weekend included the fact that they were "right in it for 80 minutes".

"We had heaps of chances to actually win the game, to be in a position to win it was awesome and the energy levels of the girls were really good. They showed lots of intent and were keen to be involved for the whole 80.

"We've got ourselves into a position to hopefully see what we can do in a big game. A win pretty much guarantees us first spot, but it's not really about that for us. If we put in the performance we deserve to, and we've worked for, those things come."

Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Otago

Here is your Bay of Plenty Volcanix team to take on Otago Spirit in their final Farah Palmer Cup Round Robin Match this Saturday. 🏉: Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Otago Spirit ⏰: Saturday, 12.05pm 📍: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin 📺: SKY Sport NZ Channel 51 READ: #OTAvBOP #FarahPalmerCup #TeamNix

Posted by Bay of Plenty Rugby on Wednesday, 4 October 2017

While there are some players in the squad who played at Forsyth Barr Stadium two years ago, for most it will be a new experience.

"It's good having that experience, it's not the whole group that's brand new so we'll be leaning on them a bit. The whole season has been building and there are different things that have added excitement each week. TV games, playing Premiership teams and this week playing at the stadium and on TV. Hopefully we see a performance to fit," he said.

Head coach Brendon Webby has selected forwards who will utilise the pristine conditions at Forsyth Barr Stadium in his match day squad.

Black Fern Lesley Elder is rewarded with her first start at openside flanker after a quality performance off the bench against Waikato. The reshuffle sees Kendra Reynolds move to blindside and Christie Yule move to lock.

Shaye Whareaorere will play first five after a great display of kicking last week. Ora Williams, returning from injury, will replace Jade Tuilaepa, who has a knee injury, at halfback.

In an exciting injection of speed and flair to the side, debutant Kororia Heyblom joins Zaan Scott on the bench. Heyblom was an integral part of the Bay of Plenty Under-18 team that dominated the Chiefs division of the Northern Regions competition.

Bay of Plenty Volcanix team to play Otago
Kick-off at 12.05pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 1
1. Luka Connor (24)
2. Lily Florence (11)
3. Ereti Williams (15)
4. Kaci James (23) - Co-Captain
5. Christie Yule (11) - Co-Captain
6. Kendra Reynolds (17)
7. Lesley Elder (1)
8. Sequoia Autumn Te Aonui (5)
9. Ora Williams (4)
10. Shaye Whareaorere (10)
11. Sapphire Tapsell (12)
12. Tania-Rose Raharuhi (5)
13. Aryahn Clarke (8)
14. Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly (16)
15. Crystal Mayes(5)

16. Julie Lewis (8)
17. Braxton Walker (1)
18. Amanda Aldridge (4)
19. Teilani Thompson**
20. Julia Buescher (5)
21. Kororia Heyblom**
22. Zaan Scott (5)

( ) Denotes number of games
** Denotes Debut

Bay of Plenty Volcanix v Otago Spirit
Played: 4, Otago wins 3, Bay of Plenty wins 1
Last match: Otago 41 Bay of Plenty 10, September 19, 2015 in Dunedin.
Last Bay of Plenty win: Bay of Plenty 15 Otago 13, August 31, 2002 in Rotorua
Biggest Otago score: 41, September 19, 2015 in Dunedin
Biggest Bay of Plenty score: 15, August 31, 2002 in Rotorua
Biggest differential: Otago by 33 (38-5), August 23, 2014 in Rotorua