Aupiki players come together for trainings - regardless of team

Fri, Mar 17

With Super Rugby Aupiki running for only five weeks teams have a limited training window, however the Auckland rugby hub has opened its arms to players across the region – no matter what franchise they represent.

One player taking advantage of the setup is Hurricanes Poua prop Cristo Tofa who is based in Auckland but travels to Wellington on Thursday through Sunday for training and games.

“It's all good,” Tofa said of the Auckland trainings. “Bit of banter – it's not that bad.”

Tofa and others are under the watchful eye of Auckland Rugby’s Anna Richards while they’re away from their teams.

“Unfortunately at the moment, Aupiki is only assembled four days a week,” Richards said.

“So they've got to train a bit the other three days and anybody in the Auckland area, we hold a training.

“I think the conditioning and the skill work makes the game get better and better and you've seen that in the first three rounds; there's been some great tries and unbelievable skills so looking forward to this weekend and the semis.”

It's the kind of mucking in those in the women’s rugby scene are used to seeing where team colours are put aside for the development of the game.

In total this season, eight players from Chiefs Manawa and Hurricanes Poua are part of the environment.

Luka Connor makes a run for Chiefs Manawa.

“Our season is very condensed and time isn't our friend,” Blues and Black Ferns captain Ruahei Demant said.

“So having regular training nights like this where we can all come together and have high quality trainings regardless of the jersey we wear, we're trying to do our best for ourselves, for our family and for women's rugby.”

When the whistle blows on the weekends though, the friendly formalities fall to wayside – and sometimes they happen during the week too.

“With a couple of my good mates, I'm gonna give them a little nudge,” Tofa said.

They can expect a bit more than that this weekend with the semifinals of this year’s competition kicking off.


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