NZDF to host inaugural International Defence Rugby Competition in October

The International Defence Rugby Competition is the first-ever 15-a-side Defence Women’s rugby competition.

The New Zealand Defence Force will be hosting the inaugural International Defence Rugby Competition in October, welcoming military women’s teams from the Pacific and around the world.

Defence rugby teams from Australia, Fiji, France, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and a combined Papua New Guinea/Vanuatu side will represent their countries and militaries at the tournament held in Auckland.

The series will be held at the Kumeu Rugby Club in Riverhead, Auckland and starts October 7th with the finals taking place on October 25th. PasifikaTV will be attending the games to provide post-match interviews.

Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, is delighted for New Zealand to host the inaugural Defence Women’s rugby competition.

“The New Zealand Defence Force is proud to be hosting this inaugural event, bringing together Defence women from our military partners across the Pacific and around the world to engage through sport – bonding and battling for a winning outcome.”

Air Marshal Short also said the games reflect the value the forces place on supporting their people to follow sporting passions alongside their professional lives.

NZDF’s mixed-service women’s rugby team, The Defence Ferns, features players who have competed in the Farah Palmer cup and Super Rugby.

Corporal Hayley Hutana has played for the Blues and North Harbour and is excited to combine her sporting passion with her work whanau.

“I am looking forward to competing and networking with other militaries and nations but also to promote both my job and my sport in one go,” she said.

For many others, it will be their debut in an international sporting event with Private Ebony Low saying it has always been a dream to play international rugby.

The International Defence Rugby Competition holds a strong significance for the Defence Ferns, and they hope to inspire future Defence women through sport.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other strong wahine from other international Defence Force’s but most of all, I am looking forward to growing the game for future generations,” said Lance Corporal Mary Kanace.

“We encourage New Zealand to get behind our Defence women, watch some exciting rugby, and celebrate these wahine toa (strong women) as they go head-to-head, bringing us the best in Defence Women’s rugby, right here in Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Air Marshall Short.

Match schedules, results, and more information can be found on the NZDF website along with most games being livestreamed.