Volcanix set to explode in training
ARUGBY lmost a quarter of the 2021 Bay of Plenty Volcanix wider training squad are from Rangiuru’s women’s team. The initial training squad was announced last week and includes Rangiuru forwards Baye Jacob, Jessie Wharekura, Kendra Reynolds, Santo Taumata, Te Urupounamu Mcgarvey and backs Mererangi Paul, Layla Te Riini, Louisa Tubailagi and Sapphire Tapsell. The players will train over a month-long period before an official Farah Palmer squad is named just before pre-season. Asked about the relatively large size of the initial squad, Volcanix head coach Rodney Gibbs said a larger group is necessary to bring everyone up to speed. “The reason we have a squad of this size is so we can train and simulate play in a way that mirrors a real game as closely as possible,” says Gibbs. “That way, we can measure the girls against each other first and foremost, and then start looking at combinations and preparing them for what will work best moving forward.” Gibbs said the following weeks will be a good test for the players as many have never played at provincial level. “A big part of this onemonth training block with this initial wider squad is to let the club girls mix it with the more experienced and Black Ferns girls. “The physicality and skills are a big jump from the club level. “The girls that learn quickly and can roll with the punches will give themselves the best chance of making it to the next step.” The wider squad features many familiar and expected names, including Black Ferns representatives Reynolds, Les Elder, Pia Tapsell, Luka Connor and Kelsie Wills. There are also a few new additions, including two exciting Australian prospects. “Sheniqua Taula and Ashleigh Timoko are two talented footballers from across the Tasman who will be looking to make the side,” says Gibbs. The Volcanix begin their Farah Palmer Cup campaign against Auckland on July 16.