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The squad, which was named yesterday, includes nine new caps and the Spirit will have to do without the experienced hands of outside back Sheree Hume, locks Kate Smith and Jess Kendall and No8 Greer Muir.
Muir injured her knee in a club game two weeks ago and will not be available while the others have work commitments or have opted against playing.
Coach Scott Manson said the bulk of the squad from last year had been retained and, at the same time, there was some real talent coming through.
‘‘With this side we will look to continue the expansive brand of rugby that’s been played in previous years,’’ he said.
The new players include South Otago High School pupil Keely Hill and Maia Joseph, the daughter of former All Black and Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph.
Zoe Whatarau is back from injury and has been playing in the loose forwards.
Rosie Kelly, Kilisitina Moata’ane and Amy du Plessis loom as key backs while Tegan Hollows and Bree Thomas are important forwards.
The format of the competition has changed so the the 13 teams are now split into two pools along geographical lines.
Eilis Doyle, France Bloomfield, Meg Breen, Rosie Buchanan-Brown, Lucy Cahill, Paige Church, Jamie Church, Cheyenne Cunningham, Amy du Plessis, Maddie Feaunati, Teliah Ferguson, Julia Gorinski, Sarah Graham, Morgan Henderson, Keely Hill, Tegan Hollows, Trisha Hopcroft, Maia Joseph, Rosie Kelly, Leah Miles, Gemma Millar, Kilisitina Moata’ane, Libby Napier, Isla Pringle, Bree Thomas, Rebekah Wairau, Hinemoa Watene, Kiana Wereta, Zoe Whatarau.
The Spirit will have its first game of the season against Wellington in the capital on September 5.