Port Taranaki is backing the region’s growing depth of women’s rugby talent, signing on as a key sponsor of the Taranaki Rugby women’s programme for the next two years.
Port Taranaki has taken up naming rights sponsorship of the Taranaki women’s rugby team, the Taranaki women’s sevens team, and the girls’ secondary schools competition through until 2020.
The company has a long association with Taranaki Rugby, most recently as principal sponsor of the Taranaki Bulls Mitre 10 Cup team for three years.
“With that tenure coming to an end earlier this year, we wanted to continue our connection with Taranaki Rugby and saw the sponsorship of Taranaki women’s rugby as a great fit,” Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said.
“Women’s rugby is gaining in popularity and strength locally and nationally. There are now clear pathways for female players to make a career in the game, which is exciting and aligns with our values as a company to ensure people have the opportunity to develop and grow.”
For the first time since 2013, the Port Taranaki women’s rugby team will compete in the Farah Palmer Cup national provincial championship – the highest level of women’s rugby in New Zealand. The competition runs over September and October, and the team will take on North Harbour, Hawke’s Bay and Otago at home, and Tasman, Bay of Plenty and Wellington away.
The Port Taranaki women’s sevens team will compete at the regional sevens qualifying tournament in November, the Mt Maunganui sevens, and the national sevens championship, in Rotorua, in December.
The Port Taranaki girls’ secondary schools competition is in full swing with six teams competing on a home and away basis.
“It’s an exciting time for the women’s game in Taranaki, with numbers of players growing quickly and the likes of local players Michaela Blyde, Gayle Broughton and Kendra Cocksedge starring for the world champion Black Ferns and the Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning New Zealand women’s sevens team,” Mr Roper said.
“So we’re really pleased to be a part of it and looking forward to following the continued development of the teams and players.”
Taranaki Rugby commercial manager Geoff Hitchcock said Port Taranaki’s ongoing support was much appreciated.
“Port Taranaki has been a tremendous supporter of Taranaki Rugby for a long time, and we are thrilled they are continuing that support by backing our fast-growing women’s game,” he said.
“It is real recognition by a major Taranaki company that women’s rugby is now a key part of what we do and that the game provides a legitimate career path for young players. A lot of hard work has been put in to developing women’s teams and competitions in recent years and this is a great endorsement of that,” he said.
“We thank Port Taranaki for their support and for helping women’s rugby in Taranaki grow stronger.”