The Bay of Plenty Volcanix have put their first win of 2018 on the board, a 73-0 hammering of Taranaki.
It was fitting that in the week we celebrate women in rugby and 125 years of women's suffrage, the Volcanix hosted a Taranaki side who joined the national competition this season, demonstrating the growth of the women's game.
The Volcanix were always expected to be the stronger side, but you still have to show up and get the job done, which they did emphatically with some scintillating attacking moves.
The Volcanix took little time getting into their work, crossing for the opening try after just two minutes. After several phases in the middle of the field they showed great hands to spread the ball right where they had an overlap. Fullback Sapphire Tapsell drew the last defender before putting her captain and inspirational leader captain Christie Yule over in the corner for a 5-0 lead.
Ten minutes into the game the Volcanix doubled their lead. Winger Emily Magee made a break down the left wing from halfway, the defence caught up with her but popping up on her inside was her fellow winger Polly Playle, who showed great desire to get across in support from the other side of the field and was rewarded with a try and a 10-0 lead.
The Volcanix kept their foot on the throat of their opposition with a third try, this time to hot-stepping second five Renee Wickliffe, who had defenders grasping at thin air as she weaved her way through the line. This time Tapsell converted and 20 minutes into the game the home side led 17-0.
The Bay of Plenty women scored another two tries, through Tapsell and flanker Kendra Reynolds, to make it 27-0. Playle capped off a superb 40 minutes of rugby with the try of the half, showing blistering pace to beat five or six players and race 50m to score. Tapsell converted and the Volcanix led 34-0 at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half the home side were at it again. After building phases on the right-hand side they shifted left, first five Ora Williams throwing a beautiful long pass, and prop Angel Mulu crashed over to score. Tapsell converted and it was 41-0.
Minutes later Tapsell crossed for another try, on the back of an inside ball from Williams who was pulling all the strings, to make it 46-0.
A willingness to whip the ball wide continued to pay dividends for the Volcanix and 55 minutes into the game they led 51-0 after a try to Magee. With 17 minutes left to play Yule secured her double, racing straight through a gap off the back of the scrum. Tapsell converted and the lead was 58-0.
Further tries were scored by Williams, Wickliffe and Magee to round out a comfortable win.
After the game Playle was ecstatic about the first win of the season.
"It's really awesome, we just wanted to go out there and have some fun today, that was our main objective. We were just excited to be here at Rotorua Stadium playing under the lights."
It was a particularly special night for the Playle family. After the Volcanix game, Playle was back on the field supporting her daughter, Mason-Marie, playing for Waikite Kōwhai during the curtain raiser to the Steamers' game.
"It's very special and I'm very proud, pretty much everything I do is to inspire my girls," she said.