A little bit of history will be made at Massey University on Saturday as the home side hosts the brand new Wanganui Metro Women's team for kickoff of the 2020 Prue Christie Cup.
In the pipeline these past two years, raising a Wanganui team to play in the Manawatū women's club competition has been the dream of WRFU chief executive Bridget Belsham and the keystone of the side in development officer Sosoli Talawadua.
The former Waikato captain and an eight game-capped Black Fern, including the victorious 2017 World Cup campaign, 31-year-old Talawadua returned home to Whanganui with her family last year to join the WRFU, while also playing for the Manawatū Cyclones in the Farah Palmer Cup.
She will be at prop for a squad of "21 committed ladies", an eclectic mix of schoolgirls, current players and those jumping back on board a decade or so after they finished high school.
Priority for Talawadua is for the players to remain bitten by the rugby bug so the side continues its existence and others can join in the future, while ensuring the safety of the younger members as they learn the techniques of the code.
"These other women in the Manawatū are experienced, but we're just out there to give it a go this season."
Preseason included the Metro players joining their Manawatū counterparts for a women's module where they were all mixed up amongst three teams to play two matches each.
Metro had their first full match together last weekend against the Southern club from Hawera.
As well as growing the women's game, Metro's existence allows local talent to secure a pathway into the Farah Palmer Cup – Talawadua has been taking another Whanganui High School alumni with her to Palmerston North for high performance training in 18-year-old Montel Vaiao Aki.
"Going forward, it would be good to get them in the Cyclones, but Bridget has spoken about looking to get a Heartland team set up.
"Manawatū coaches have looked their way a little bit this year already."
There is scheduled to be an end-of-season women's representative match between Wanganui and Horowhenua-Kapiti.
• Metro vs Massey kicks off at 11am on Field No6 at the campus grounds.