Canterbury and Waikato ready for Premiership final rematch

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They are each without their Black Ferns. The internationals are in camp preparing for their northern hemisphere Test tour.


Canterbury's issues are due to injury concerns. Waikato, beaten 7-8 in injury time in last year's final, had its preparation upset by having to jump through Covid-19 hoops to make the final.


Canterbury has been hardest hit in the locking department. It has been without Canadian international Cindy Nelles all season due to ongoing concussion symptoms. She scored the injury-time winning try in last season's grand final.


Chelsea Bremner broke her hand during this season's campaign, and Emma Dermody broke her arm two weeks ago.


That has resulted in loose forward Lucy Jenkins moving to lock for the first time, where she will partner Stacey Niao, who will be playing in her first final.


Lucy Anderson, a midfield back two years ago and a No8 last year, will start at loosehead prop.


Coach Blair Baxter said: "That's the sort of commitment and attitude this team is made up of. When this team needs something, there's always people putting their hands up to offer themselves as a solution."

Making her 50th appearance for the side will be second five-eighths Liv McGoverne. She first played in 2015 and has shared four Farah Palmer Cup titles.


Baxter said: "Liv's experience will be invaluable for us this weekend. Her combination with Tori [first five-eighths Terauoriwa Gapper] has blossomed and she's developed a real presence in the backline. Fifty caps are a real testament to her determination and commitment to the team."


Tighthead prop Steph Te Ohaere Fox will take over the captaincy of the side in the absence of Black Fern Alana Bremner.


Baxter was confident that she and hooker Rebecca Todd would provide the leadership needed to perform in the final.


Waikato moved to Cambridge earlier in the week to avoid Level 3 restrictions and flew to Christchurch on Thursday, prior to the extension of the Level 3 boundaries. They were unable to train in Cambridge until negative Covid test results were confirmed.


The Farah Palmer Cup Premiership final will be played at Rugby Park in Christchurch at 2.05 pm on Saturday, while the Championship final between Manawatu and Hawke's Bay will be played at Central Energy Trust Arena starting at 11.35 am.