Winiata defies orders to add power to Cyclones
Selica Winiata is the only New Zealand-contracted player to be named in the Manawatu Cyclones rugby squad for this year's Women's Provincial Championship.
The contracted New Zealand sevens players have been instructed not to play in the WPC, which starts next weekend, but Winiata, who is with the Black Ferns at the women's World Cup in France, has defied orders and will play.
There has been a large cleanout from last year's successful team, with players leaving and with the internationals not playing.
The key players returning in the forwards are utility Ebony Low, flanker Christie Yule, lock Nicole Dickins, prop Rikki Rawleigh and prop Sita Kuruyabaki.
Low, Rawleigh and Kuruyabaki will miss some of the season while in Australia with the New Zealand women's rugby league team.
In the backs, the core players are halfback Kristina Sue, fullback Winiata, experienced first five-eighth and former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney, outside back Krysten Duffill and utility Crystal Mayes.
Several players have returned after missing one or more seasons.
Some of the big losses from last year are Katie Turnbull, who is likely to return to England, and Amy Cokayne, who is in England. Aroha Nuku is still recovering from a badly broken leg.
The biggest loss is last year's captain and Black Ferns prop Ruth McKay, who has retired, but also absent is the sevens contingent of Sarah Goss, Hayley Hutana, Shakira Baker and Vaine Greig.
The Cyclones have a pre-season game against Hawke's Bay in Napier tomorrow, and start the WPC next weekend at home against Wellington as a televised curtainraiser to the Manawatu Turbos' game against Auckland.
Cyclones squad: Amber Paul (Massey University), Anne Marie Lowe (Kia Toa), Arihi Reihana (Kia Toa), Rebecca Mahoney (Eketahuna), Chrissy Longstaff (Stratford), Crystal Mayes (Kia Toa), Ebony Low (Kia Toa), Christie Yule (Feild ing Old Boys-Oroua), Janna Vaughan (Kia Toa), Kahli Tipene (Eketahuna), Karyn Robertson (FOB-Oroua), Kendall Templeman (Kia Toa), Kristina Sue (Kia Toa), Krysten Duffill (FOB-Oroua), Kylie Winiata (Kia Toa), Mahalia Polson (Kia Toa), Mallory Townsend (Linton Army), Nicci Ku iti (Kia Toa), Nicole Dickins (FOB-Oroua), Rebekah Tufuga (Kia Toa), Rikki-Lee Rawleigh (Linton), Sam Tipene (Eketahuna), Selica Winiata (Kia Toa), Shanna Porima (Kia Toa), Sita Kuruyabaki (FOB-Oroua), Stacy Loye (Kia Toa), Whanda Leota (Kia Toa).