Sydney, Australia – In a landmark collaboration, Rugby Australia, alongside the Australian Government, Oceania Rugby, and World Rugby, has announced the formation of the Penina Pasifika women's rugby team. This innovative initiative is set to enrich the Super Rugby Women's preseason competition with a squad comprising talent primarily from Samoa and Tonga.
The Penina Pasifika team is poised to debut against the Queensland Reds on February 24, marking a significant milestone in the promotion and development of women's rugby in the Pacific. Subsequent matches against the ACT Brumbies and NSW Waratahs are scheduled for early March, offering the team a platform to showcase their skills and competitive spirit.
Jilly Collins, Rugby Australia's General Manager of Women's Rugby, expressed her enthusiasm for the inclusion of Penina Pasifika in the 2024 Super W preseason. "These high-quality matches will provide invaluable preparation and development opportunities for all the players involved," Collins stated. She also acknowledged the support from PacificAus Sports, a key contributor to making this tour a reality, emphasizing the initiative's role in the lead-up to Australia hosting the 2029 Women's Rugby World Cup.
The Australian Government's PacificAus Sports program plays a crucial role in funding the team, underscoring a commitment to nurturing sporting talent in the Pacific and fortifying regional connections. Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, highlighted the government's dedication to providing platforms for Pacific female athletes to excel and inspire.
The success of the Fijian Drua in the Super Rugby W competition, where they emerged as defending champions, has paved the way for Penina Pasifika's entry, promising a thrilling addition to the league.
Nina Foaese, a Samoan player for Penina Pasifika, shared her excitement and pride in representing the team. She emphasised the dual benefits of playing for Penina Pasifika: personal and professional growth for the players and the opportunity to support their families back home through rugby. Foaese's comments reflect the team's broader mission to leverage sports as a means of cultural exchange, mutual respect, and economic support for players' communities.
As Penina Pasifika gears up for their inaugural match, the team stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring female rugby players in the Pacific. Their journey in the Super W preseason is not just about the games they will play but about the stories they will tell and the barriers they will break in the world of women's rugby.