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Tasman Women team named to play Hawkes Bay

Wairakau Greig is back at centre for Tasman in their final match against Hawke's Bay on Saturday.
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Wairakau Greig is back at centre for Tasman in their final match against Hawke's Bay on Saturday.

The Tasman women's rugby team will field all of their attacking weapons for the first time this season in Saturday's Farah Palmer Cup clash with Hawke's Bay at Trafalgar Park.

It's Tasman's final game of the series and their last chance to secure a win in their debut season. But their hopes of beating fellow championship stragglers Hawke's Bay have been significantly boosted by the return of dynamic centre Wairakau Greig from injury.

Greig joins Tasman's other key attacking assets, first five-eighth Risi Pouri-Lane, winger Jess Drummond and fullback Sydnee Wilkins, in a potent backline mix for Saturday's clash.

Unavailability and injury at various times to different players has previously denied Tasman the chance to field their strongest backline but now, with everyone back on deck, the team is confidently eyeing the similarly winless Hawke's Bay Tuis as a genuine opportunity to break their duck.

Tasman had also targeted North Harbour last Sunday in Nelson as a potential scalp but a combination of wet conditions, poor tactics and handling errors conspired to hand Harbour a 25-12 win.

According to Tasman forward coach Mark Kelly, Tasman didn't play "smart" due largely to the team's inexperience at provincial level.

"We played too much rugby ... we should have just kept on kicking it to the corners and then played rugby but we tried playing it from our 10-yard line which is way too narrow. They'll know next time," Kelly said.

Still, Kelly said that the team's confidence levels were high and their determination clearly evident to perform in front of their home supporters.

"I'm very confident, the whole team's confident. The fact that we'll finally get what we'd call our best backline out there lifts everyone as well."

Props Naomi Tiumalu and Ashley Ulutupu have also earned starts this week as the only changes to a forward pack that's been together for the entire campaign.

They'll complement the mobility already provided by players such as No 8 and captain Jess Foster, flankers Kelly Stanford and Tamara Silcock, lock Hannah Gillespie and hooker Steph Mitchell although the forwards' main focus on Saturday will be establishing a solid attacking platform for their backs. 

Saturday's game kicks off at Trafalgar Park at 2.30pm.

HOW THEY LINE UP

TASMAN: Sydnee Wilkins, Jess Drummond, Wairakau Greig, Staci Kohe, Michelle Curry, Risi Pouri-Lane, Rosie Buchanan-Brown, Jess Foster, Kelly Stanford, Tamara Silcock, Hannah Gillespie, Courtney Clarke, Ashley Ulutupu, Stephani Mitchell, Naomi Tiumalu. Reserves: Stacey Davis, Kelly Couper, Niska Scott, Shellie Barry/Lyric Siaki, Dana Wilson, Leti Fotumoala, Fern Hoskin.

HAWKE'S BAY (from): Jess Bennet, Natalie Cotton, Yarnise Whaitiri, Kristen Kirkpatrick, Charlie Hoggard, Niamh Jefferson, Jasmine Taukamo-Apiata, Luana Apuwai, Gemma Woods, Amy Williams, Teliah Ferguson, Danielle Pomare-Mackay, Renee Holmes, Felicity Powdrell, Julie Ferguson-Ngawaka, Forne Burkin, Awhina Tangen-Wainoho, Christine Lauvao, Laurae Blake, Kaea Williams, Shaylee Tipiwai, Rebekah Hurae, Tamia Edwards.

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