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Sydenham is the champion of Canterbury women’s club rugby this season after beating Christchurch 29-12 in the final last weekend.
It was another tremendous performance by the cardinal and blues ensuring that they went through the round-robin and the finals undefeated.
Sydenham deserved its win; being outstanding on attack in the first half and resolute in defence in the second. Co-Coaches Willy Van Nieckerk and Warwick Reid say that their girls were “chuffed” having now won the competition two seasons in-a-row.
“It was a hard game and we were fortunate to get our noses in front in the first half and then hold on. In the second half our ‘D’ (defence) got us home and Christchurch camped in our half for a long period.”
Willy says his side’s favouritism going into the match was a “blessing in disguise”. “We knew that having beaten Christchurch a couple of weeks ago that they would be very determined to come back at us. That’s what happened and they certainly gave us a hard game.”
Willy says that his openside flanker Amanda Murphy was one of a number of stand-outs: “She is new to the position and her willingness to listen and learn was very impressive. She also learnt off the experienced players, individuals like Casey Robertson, and she really grew as the season continued. Her commitment at the breakdown and her athleticism were features of her play.”
Willy says that his players and many of their families (including some who had travelled to Christchurch) enjoyed themselves on Saturday night at the Cashmere Club. “The girls had a good night and it was special to be a part of it,” Willy says. “We were all delighted.”
Many of Sydenham’s best players will now turn out for Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship, while there is also the lure of the Black Ferns’ tour to England at the end of this season.
“Next season we will be looking for a hat-trick of titles,” Willy says. “Some of the older players may be winding down and so we will have some of the young players coming through. It will be an exciting time.”
Willy says that he remains concerned about the lack of depth within the club game in Canterbury with only three teams truly competitive. He says that he would like to see a Super 6 competition established with teams from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand competing. That aside, he says that is keen to coach Sydenham again next season.
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