Te Puru Shut Down Spirited Pikiao Fight Back In Epic Women’s Final

Te Puru’s first foray into the Women’s competition has seen them take out the silverware as they are the Harmony Cup 2022 Women’s Champions. With a 12-10 victory in the Grand Final against the ever improving Pikiao Warriors, it is a testament to both communities and the womens game in general as to how far these ladies have come. Watching all the games this year was a pleasure as the skill level of all the ladies has grown exponetially. 10 teams contested this years tournament, and it seemed like any number of them could take it out.

Te Puru went through the tournament undefeated, accounting for Cook Islands Vaine Tumanava, RLSWA and a tricky Western Fijian Civa side. They also met their final foe the Pikiao Warriors in the pool stages and put them to the sword with a dominant performance, and then rest up on Sunday morning to see who they would face in the semi finals. And with the Civa ladies coming through their QF against the Indigenous, it took a last ditch try from the Te Puru ladies to finally see them off, before they came up against the Pikaio Warriors ladies once again. But this time they had learnt a bit from their last encounter.

The Pikaio Warriors Ladies had to do it a bit tougher. After losing to Te Puru on their side of the draw, they accounted for Western Fijians Civa and Vaine Tumanava in close contests, but still weren’t assured of a spot until they defeated a plucky RLSWA side on sunday morning. With this win it setup a date in the QF with an under strength Ngati Kahungunu, and then into a very dangerous Hawaiki Roa team in the semi final. Roa the defending champions had a mixed tournament up until that point and again their ball movement just wasn’t what it was 12 months ago, and the black and whites found themselves in their own first ever final.

In an all Maori final, the Te Puru ladies suffered a shock setback when gun player Crystal Walters went down with an injury early in the piece, and everyones thoughts are with her. But Te Puru, who looked the side to beat all weekend, kept their cool a scored first. In a true grand final, and back to the wall style that the Pikiao community has, they didn’t go away, with some brilliant efforts from Taurima and Grey keeping them alive in the contest. But Ariana Hira-Herangi and her charges were not to be denied as they ran out deserved winners in our 6th edition of harmony cup. Hira-Herangi scored a brutal try of her own in the contest as she ran straight over the top of an opposition player on the way to a decisive score.

Elation for the Te Puru as they become the champions for the first time, while a few ladies in that side celebrate another win with a different franchise. Heartbreak for the Pikiao Warrior ladies who were incredibly close to bringing the trophy home for the Black and Whites, and here’s to hoping they are back for Harmony Cup 7.