Rugby education continues for newbies Taranaki

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 21/09/2013

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Being flogged 92-12 would be enough for some rugby teams to almost give up.

Not the Taranaki women's team, according to coach Jack Kirifi, who said his squad remained upbeat despite the tough lesson handed out to them by Canterbury last week.

"That's one good thing about the girls, they are realistic and they know where they are at."

Just where they are is the bottom of the women's provincial championship and they might be in for another lesson this afternoon when they front the Otago Spirit.

While not in the same class as Canterbury, the southerners have far more experience and firepower than Taranaki. They showed that last week, beating Waikato 27-15, with captain Haile Hurring impressive at fullback along with No 8 Angie Sisifa.

Taranaki need to be desperate on defence, although Kirifi has cut them some slack after heavy opening defeats against Manawatu and Canterbury.

"They want to remain positive, but at the same time they have a lot of work to do," he said.

"I think there is a combination of things against us but the biggest is that knowledge, their rugby nous. It's knowing where to be and what to do in various situations."

On a positive note, Brooke Sim returns to first five-eighth, while wing Michaela Blyde remains a danger to any defence.

Taranaki just need to figure out how to get the ball to her in space.

"We have to improve our execution, as well, but that's hard with the girls so new to rugby."

He said the squad had worked hard on learning ball retention techniques this week, something that might be needed if the weather remains poor.

HOW THEY LINE UP

TARANAKI v OTAGO SPIRIT WPC round three 5.15pm, today, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth

TARANAKI: Aleisha Henry, Lyn Smith, Lauren Burgess, Badinlee Munro-Smith, Michaela Blyde, Brooke Sim, Kate Broadmore, Neesha Barrett (captain), Brylee Gee, Deb Davies, Ditte van Vliet, Victoria McCullough, Zora Boettcher, Tasha Hintz, Nicole Sarten. Reserves, Leana Urlich, Leah Barnard, Jessica Lampe, Marika Allen, Marissa Clough, Georgia Marshall, Ahleah Paul-Kaponga.

OTAGO SPIRIT: Haile Hurring (captain), Michaela Baker, Greer Muir, Lucy Anderson, Courtney Martin, Sheree Hume, Rebecca Todd, Angie Sisifa, Leyhana van Vugt, Rachel Scott, Michaela Smith, Syreet Norris, Lydia Inglis, Paige Church, Pip Love. Reserves, Lucy Emery, Molly Wright, Maddi Finch, Deidre Roberts, Megan Manson, Claire Richardson, Liv Waldron

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