Matatu edged in first full hit-out of season

Matatu came as close as they could to claiming their first win of the year.

They lost 34-33 to the Hurricanes Poua in their pre-season clash in Christchurch on Saturday.

It was the first full hit-out for the defending Super Rugby Aupiki champions and they named 29 players for the game to test the combinations among the new squad.

The Poua, also fielding a new-look squad from last season when they finished third, led 24-21 at halftime and continued to push on and sneak the win.

Black Ferns winger and centre Martha Mataele and Amy du Plessis started things off for Matatu.

Newcomers Winnie Palamo, Charlie Woodman, who has joined from Exeter Chiefs, and Holly Wratt-Groeneweg also scored.

Black Fern first five Rosie Kelly and Liv McGoverne, returning from the Exeter Chiefs, added four conversions.

Chiefs Manawa flew home to beat the Blues 50-24 in their pre-season game in Hamilton on Friday.

Manawa were leading only 19-17 at halftime, but ran away in the second half.

Matatu will play their opening game on the season against the Blues in Invercargill on Saturday.

Manawa will host the Poua in Hamilton.