Cocksedge to return
Canterbury will welcome back star halfback Kendra Cocksedge for next weekend’s daunting away match against defending national women’s rugby champions Counties Manukau.
Cocksedge has been rested for the first three games of the Farah Palmer Cup, including Canterbury’s comfortable 40-10 win against Manawatu in Christchurch on Saturday.
She took leave after helping the Black Ferns win their fifth World Cup in Ireland last month, and Canterbury coach Wayne Love confirmed her looming return after his side’s bonus point win against the Cyclones.
The win improved Canterbury to 2-1, propelled them to third in the premiership standings, and gave them a desperately needed confidence boost after their round two flogging at the hands of Auckland.
Led by fullback Grace Brooker’s brace, the red and blacks were far too good for Manawatu at Linfield Park.
Wing Melanie Puckett also dotted down in her first national provincial championship match, while midfielder Lucy Anderson and flanker Nicole Purdom accounted for the other tries.
First-five eighth Charntay
(Lucy Anderson, Grace Brooker 2, Melanie Puckett, Nicole Purdom tries; Charntay Poko 3 pen, 2 con, Cassie Siataga con) (Janna MichalVaughan, Selica Winiata tries) HT: 28-0. Poko, who did a fine job steering the home side around the paddock, added 13 points (three penalties and two conversions) off the tee.
Plenty of credit must go to the home side’s forward pack, which set a platform not too dissimilar from the one the Canterbury men’s side have been laying for their backs in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Manawatu’s forwards must have all had a good taste of the Linfield Park turf by the end of the game, having been repeatedly buried at scrum time.
Love admitted it was an area his team targeted after scouting the Manawatu-Wellington game in round two.
It was a brutal display from the red and blacks, who led 28-0 at halftime after Puckett got on the end of a smart grubber kick by lock Estelle Uren to score out wide.
Meanwhile Waikato missed a chance to steal a much soughtafter Farah Palmer Cup win losing to Wellington 11-5 on Saturday.