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Aparima College Year 13 pupil Amy Rule has been named in the Otago Spirit squad to line up in the New Zealand’s premier women’s provincial rugby competition which kicks off next month.
Rugby Southland hopes to one day field a team in the Farah Palmer Cup, but at the moment Southland’s leading players are picked up by Otago to play in the national competition.
With Aparima College not having a team in Southland’s first XV school competition, Rule plays for Winton’s Central Southland College, where she is one its key players.
The teenage prop/No 8 also lined up this year for the Blues club in a new four-week Southland 10-a-side senior women’s competition.
She was then selected to play for a combined Southland/North Otago team against Dunedin clubs in a new Highlanders-wide competition.
Rule impressed Otago Spirit coach Scott Manson and was picked for the Spirit squad.
Rule is joined by Cass Engler as Southland players named last week in Otago’s 28-strong squad. Engler is an outside back with plenty of pace who has a strong background in touch rugby and sevens.
Fellow Southlanders who are now based in Dunedin, Jess Dermody, Georgia Mason and Trisha Hopcroft, are also part of the Spirit squad.
Rugby Southland women’s development officer Scott Eade said Rule’s selection, in particular, again highlighted the opportunities now available for females playing rugby. Southland Girls’ High School has produced most of Southland’s leading women’s players in recent years, but Eade said Rule’s success showed the pathway was open to rugby players from all schools.
Otago Spirit will open its Farah Palmer Cup campaign against North Harbour at the University of Otago Oval, in Dunedin, on September 1.
• Southland Girls’ has advanced to yet another South Island schools final on August 25 after beating Otago Girls’.
Adding to the buzz surrounding women’s rugby in Southland, Alena Saili is preparing to play for the Black Ferns against Australia in Sydney on Saturday night.
- Logan Savory