Sport: Black Ferns showdown looms in Heat clash with Storm
A mouth watering showdown between Black Ferns awaits.
That's how the Farah Palmer Cup clash between defending champions, the Counties Manukau Heat and arch rivals, the Auckland Storm, is shaping up.
Their much anticipated replay of last year's grand final will be played at Bell Park, Pakuranga on Saturday at midday.
It will pit the Heat's Black Ferns, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Victoria Subritzky Nafatali, Hazel Tubic and Aotearoa Matau against eight of their World Cup winning team mates.
The quartet will have their work cut out in the absence of match winning wingers Portia Woodman and Renee Wickliffe, who are with the New Zealand women's Sevens team, and barnstorming No 8, Aroha Savage who, the Manukau Courier understands, has "stepped away" from rugby.
Coach Davida White says the Storm is just the challenge her team needs after runaway 84-7 and 48-0 wins against North Harbour and Waikato.
"It exciting and challenging to be playing Auckland. They will be at full strength with their Black Ferns back from the World Cup, so this will give be a good gauge of where we stand."
White was pleased with her team's performance against Waikato but says there's still plenty of work to be done.
"I was happy with the way we defended. Defence has been a big work on, as has our set piece, our scrum in particular.
"If there is a concern it's the number of penalties we're giving away. We have to keep them to a minimum."
The Heat scored seven tries in the win over Waikato. Halfback Arihiana Marino scored a double and full back Hazel Tubic kicked five conversions and a penalty.
Result: Counties Manukau Heat 48 (Arihiana Marino 2, Katie Matau, Stacey Brown, Timara Leaf, Utumalama Atonio, Aroha Heta, tries. Hazel Tubic 5 conversions, a penalty) Waikato 0. H/t: 29-0.
Points: Counties Manukau 10, Auckland 7, Wellington 5, Manawatu 5, Waikato 5, Canterbury 4.
Draw: Counties Manukau Heat v Auckland Storm, Bell Park, Pakuranga. Date: September 16. Start: 12noon.