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By WYNNE GRAY
Women's rugby. Don't like the idea or haven't bothered to find out what it is like?
Sure, it is the Super 12 season and that most delightful Saturday morning pastime of watching junior rugby has resumed, but these women also turn in a seriously decent style of rugby.
If you are going to Eden Park tonight to watch the Blues host the Bulls, why not go a bit earlier and take in the Auckland Storm women and the New South Wales Waratahs?
The Storm have an incredible record. They are going for their 29th straight win, in an historic first transtasman provincial clash which both sides of the ditch hope will encourage their national unions to start a Super Six next year.
The Storm last lost way back in September 1994. Since then, under the guidance of coach Mark Day, they have scored a staggering 1235 points and conceded only eight tries. In both 1996 and 1998 they did not have their line crossed.
This is a hot team, one which had five New Zealand reps in 1995 and, remarkably, all five will be in the Storm colours today.
Flanker Davida White captains the side after a year out because of injury, with back-up from Anna Richards, Tracy Lemon, Monique Hiro-vana and Louisa Wall. There are another five Black Ferns in the side today to complement that experienced quintet.
One of the newer group is centre Annaleah Rush, sister of Blues No 8 Xavier Rush. After a number of years at Otago University, the goalkicking back has returned home where she is working at Tangaroa College, taking over the phys-ed job from White, who has gone back to the books to complete her masters degree.
The Black Ferns have delivered some superb rugby as curtain-raisers to All Black tests. They have won a World Cup and it is a shame their skills do not get more recognition. The Storm bring similar talents, and in pedigree they are not far removed from the national side.
After the massive ticket price reductions, cost is no excuse tonight for bypassing Eden Park. Anyone left in Auckland has more time because of the holiday weekend and could try something different.
Make it women's rugby and surprise yourself.