Athletic Marist Waitaki Wahine’s representatives in the Otago Spirit will not have to travel far this weekend.
Tomorrow’s game between Otago and Tasman in the Farah Palmer Cup will be played at Whitestone Contracting Stadium in Oamaru.
The game was originally scheduled to be played in Dunedin, but the Tasman team was unable to get flights to Dunedin due to the Fleetwood Mac concert, so the game was moved to Oamaru.
It will be a respite for the three Waitaki Wahine representatives in the Otago Spirit – Morgan Henderson, Cheyenne Cunningham and Hannah Stolba – who have been commuting to Dunedin for much of the rugby season.
Otago Rugby Union operations manager Clint Austin said it provided a good chance to play a game in front of an Oamaru crowd.
“[Athletic Marist] obviously play in our club competition and travel down to Dunedin most weekends for club footy, so it is awesome to be able to bring a game to them.”
Austin recently visited Whitestone Contracting Stadium and said it was looking “outstanding”.
“The ground being in good nick should suit the Spirit .. they like to throw the ball around and play a pretty expansive style, so that is a real positive as well.”
Austin said he was open to the idea of bringing other Otago Spirit games to Oamaru in the future.
“There is a big following in Oamaru. I know Waitaki [Girls’ High School] and St Kevin’s [College] have schoolgirl teams and they are pretty successful.
“The more we can encourage players in the region to get behind rugby and play a bit of rugby, it’s good.”
The Farah Palmer Cup has 13 teams playing across a premiership and championship division. Otago and Tasman are in the championship division.
The Otago Spirit won its first two games – 57-5 against Taranaki and 40-7 against Northland – and leads the championship division.
Tasman beat Taranaki 36-22 last weekend and lost to North Harbour 10-22 on September 7.