17 Jul 2020

Sevens stars to boost Farah Palmer Cup

8:55 am on 17 July 2020

Several Black Ferns Sevens stars will play in the Farah Palmer Cup, which starts on August 22nd and will be split into two pools.

Portia Woodman

Portia Woodman Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

New Zealand Rugby confirmed the nine week draw today for the country's top women's competition.

In week two Auckland and Waikato will play before the North v South men's match at Eden Park.

The pools are split geographically with Northland, North Harbour, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki making up the seven-team North pool.

Last year's beaten finalists Auckland, and perennial top performers Counties Manukau are likely to lead the charge in the North Pool, with several teams to be boosted by the inclusion of New Zealand's back to back World Series winning sevens players.

Portia Woodman and Tyla Nathan-Wong will join Northland, Sarah Hirini will play for Manawatu while Ruby Tui will be debut for Auckland.

The South pool will start on Saturday 5 September with Manawatu, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Tasman and Otago joining reigning champions Canterbury.

Canterbury, will be aiming for a fourth consecutive title.

Otago, winners of last year's Championship division, will look to continue their impressive 2019 form, getting the chance to face Canterbury and Wellington in round robin.

Canterbury will have to defend the JJ Stewart Trophy against Tasman, Otago and Wellington in their three home fixtures.

The top two teams from each pool take part in crossover semi-finals and the Final will be held a week later on 17 October.

New Zealand Rugby's Head of Women's Rugby Cate Sexton said Provincial Unions are well under way in their preparation for what promises to be an exciting season

"There is a lot on the line this season because the level of competition continues to grow, and players will be eager to impress. The allure of a black jersey, with the World Cup at home next year will no doubt bring the best out of players and teams," she said.