Touch Southland's brightest female talent will get the chance to take centre stage when the Touch New Zealand Junior Nationals gets underway in Tauranga next week.
Touch Southland will this year send an under-17 girls team to the national junior tournament for the first time.
The tournament, which caters for the best under-15 and under-17 touch players in New Zealand, is regarded as the biggest tournament on the Touch New Zealand calendar.
Since the introduction of the tournament four years ago, Southland had only previously sent mixed sides away, mainly due to the fact there were not enough quality boys or girls within the province to field a competitive single sex team at national level.
Touch Southland regional manager Warren Bryant said the development of female players within the province over the years had been huge.
"We've never had as many female players as we have at the moment," Bryant said.
The major reason behind the increase in quality female players at representative level was the fact girls could play amongst themselves at an early age.
In the past female players had to play with boys in mixed sides until they reached under-15 level where they split off into single sex grades.
"The girls are loving playing with girls and I guess that is what we (Touch Southland) have promoted," Bryant said.
After taking out the under-17 mixed grade in 2011, Southland were also runners up in the same grade in 2012.
Southland will also send an under-15 mixed team away to the tournament where it is hoped they can emulate the results of previous mixed sides from the deep south.
- The Southland Times