THE Poverty Bay women’s sevens team have made history by qualifying for the national championships in Rotorua in January.
The Chris Neil coach Bay recovered from a last-minute loss 17-15 to Hawke’s Bay to beat Taranaki 26-21 in the Central region tournament in Levin on Saturday.
“It’s been a great week for women’s rugby in the district,” said Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union chief executive Marty Davis.
“The commitment of a select group of girls, who have performed outstandingly well this season, firstly with GGHS winning the Hawke’s Bay secondary school championships, then making the top four of the Condor sevens, and now this, is to be commended.
“In three years, Poverty Bay female teams have progressed to a stage where they can compete with the Mitre 10 unions.
Davis said the union had invested in “our females because there is a payback in the attitude and outcomes”.
“We are particularly impressed by the mental fortitude displayed by these women, especially in the past two weeks where disappointing two- point losses could have had an adverse effect on the following matches in tournaments, as we so often see in more fragile teams.
“But this group simply accept the loss and go about improving, a reflection on Chris Neil’s coaching and the culture and belief within the squad.
“Taking the big union will be a difficult task, but realistic expectations would be for further improvement.”