The Blues and Chiefs will create history on May 1 when the two sides do battle at Eden Park in what will be New Zealand’s first-ever Super Rugby match between two women’s teams.
The one-off fixture is the first of its kind in New Zealand Rugby, and it will act as a double-header for the Blues’ Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Chiefs on the same day.
While the upcoming match is just a standalone match between the two franchises, both team have committed themselves to developing a women’s Super Rugby programme in the future.
“We are incredibly excited about this match. It is something both clubs have spoken about for some time now,” Blues chiefs executive Andrew Hore said.
“We are really keen to develop a women’s programme for the future. We see this as a huge opportunity to kick-start that dream.”
Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins added: “Women’s rugby in New Zealand is exceptionally strong and growing exponentially.
“We see Super Women’s Rugby as the next step and felt we should come together to provide this opportunity for all the females playing the game within our region.”
Blues Women assistant coach and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Anna Richards said the initiative is exciting as it represents real growth in women’s rugby since the last World Cup in 2017.
“This is super-exciting. It is the way forward and it is great to see the CEOs from the Blues and the Chiefs be so supportive and committed in pushing this game,” she said.
“Our game has progressed significantly for women in the last four years since that great World Cup in 2017. The girls are now contracted, and this is the next step forward. It is a natural progression and the women’s game is ready for it.”
The 2021 World Cup, which was due to be held in New Zealand, was postponed due to COVID-19, meaning female in involvement in Super Rugby is a massive boost for the sport in the country.
Blues and Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell reciprocated that notion and added that the match kick-starts a brighter future for professional women’s rugby in New Zealand.
“It is an exciting time for women’s rugby with New Zealand hosting the Rugby World Cup and as a potential pathway towards that level, to have a game between the two Super teams with quite a number of the Black Ferns players is exciting,” she said.
“Of course I am a Blues fan so to be able to be part of the first Blues women’s team is fantastic and I hope this is just the start towards a bigger future for women in the game.”
Both the Blues and Chiefs women’s squads will be named at a later date.
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