After dominating the Nelson club rugby season, the Waimea women’s front row is looking to take the fight to the Farah Palmer Cup.
Stacey Davis, Stephani Mitchell, Anna Bradley and Louise Nalder are looking to shed their provincial rugby tag of “the cute little sisters”.
“We want to bring it to them, we want teams to be worried to play us, we want them scared,” Stephani says.
The women say they plan to combat the size of the North Island teams with ‘mongrelism’.
“It takes a bit of attitude, we aren’t as big, so we will make up for it that way,” says skipper Anna.
Tasman managed just two wins from nine last season, but with former Black Fern Mel Bosman now at the helm there is an air of confidence around the team.
“It has been the best build-up we have had,” says Stacey.
The women were part of a rampant Waimea side which defended its Tasman Trophy title, scoring 334 points in just six games and conceding only 25.
They say more structure and direction has enabled the players to prosper.
They have also benefitted from the women’s game gaining more recognition within the club, as Anna and Stacey were recently presented with centurion blazers.
“The girls are taking it more seriously and there is a really positive culture around bettering yourself as a rugby player,” says Stephani.
The players were rewarded for their dominance this season with no less than 12 Waimea players making the Mako squad.
After 11 years of playing together in various combinations, this season marks the first time the four will all feature in the same Mako side.
“We have been together for a long time and know how each other plays which I think helps,” says Anna.
She says the trust they have allows them to be honest and push each other.
The women are also close friends outside of rugby and, like all good front rowers, most of their off-field activities together involve food.
“We don’t party, we just eat.”