Nelson to host Black Ferns v Barbarians game
By Tim O'Connell [Nelson Mail]
The Black Ferns national women’s rugby side will make its debut at Trafalgar Park next month.
Nelson has been announced as the only non-Auckland venue for November’s Black Ferns series alongside North Shore and Waitakere, bringing the top female players in New Zealand to town.
An afternoon match on Saturday November 21 has been scheduled between the Black Ferns and a NZ Barbarians side at Trafalgar Park– the final fixture in a series that has ensured some game time for the defending world champions ahead of their title defence next year.
Before Covid-19 struck in March, NZR announced an eight-test schedule in 2020 for the Black Ferns, including seven tests at home.
However, issues around Covid-19 protocols derailed potential matches against England and Australia.
Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis said the depth of talent in New Zealand women’s rugby meant a high-quality Barbarians' lineup would take the field next month.
“You’d probably say England are second best, followed by France – this team would probably beat Australia so you're looking at the fourth best women’s rugby side in the world.”
Teams were expected to arrive on November 15 and would spend the week leading up the match involved in public engagements and school visits.
As well as hosting the match, there will be an official powhiri welcome, a city centre activation during the week and a women in business event ‘Celebrating Female Success’.
He said given the investment required to pitch and deliver an All Blacks’ test, as well as Christchurch soon to have a new, covered international-level stadium, the likelihood of Nelson hosting another All Blacks’ test was difficult to foresee.
Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge was a recent visitor to Nelson, holding a NZ Rugby holiday camp run at Trafalgar Park over the school holidays.
However, large-scale support of the game from the top of the south public would push the region’s chances for making Tasman the “home of the Black Ferns” in the future.
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese welcomed the announcement and said the city was looking forward to the game bringing visitors to the region and boosting local businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 lockdown.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky, with the potential for the game to be part of a double-header if the Tasman Mako host a Mitre 10 Cup semi-final.
Information on the purchase of tickets for this event will be advised at a later date
At A Glance - Black Ferns November schedule:
Saturday, November 7. Possibles v Probables, North Harbour Stadium, North Shore. Kick-off: 2.05pm
Saturday, November 14. Black Ferns v New Zealand Barbarians. Trusts Arena Stadium, Waitakere. Kick-off: 4.35pm.
Saturday, November 21. Black Ferns v New Zealand Barbarians, Trafalgar Park, Nelson. Kick-off: 4.35pm