Waratahs hoping Aupiki expedition becomes first of many

The NSW Waratahs are hoping their pair of trials against Super Rugby Aupiki opposition can be the first step towards a combined competition.The crossover competition continues to be floated by both sides of the Tasman, with RA CEO Andy Marinos hinting a version could be in place as early as this year.As they hunt to reclaim the Super W title from Fijiana Drua, the four-time champions made the trip to NZ to face the Blues and Aupiki champions Chiefs and Blues in 30-minute trials, going down 12-0 and 26-0 respectively.The hit-outs provided a fair idea of where the rebuilding Waratahs stand against their Kiwi counterparts, more than holding their own but with work to do.With the likes of Arabella McKenzie, Emily Chancellor and Lori Cramer overseas, they struggled to capitalise on their immense pressure against the Blues, dominated in the first 20 minutes.The likes of Duck, Georgina Friedrichs and Bridie O'Gorman helped the Waratahs camp inside the Blues' 22 for just under four minutes, unable to break the line as their lineout faltered with a fresh second-row pairing.The class of World Rugby Player of the Year Ruahei Demant helped break the game open as they scored twice to close out the game.Meanwhile, the Chiefs showed why they went unbeaten in 2022, dominating a rotated NSW side that will still bring back Maya Stewart and Eva Karpani for the Super W opener against the Western Force on March 24.Sera Naiqama (Matatū) and Grace Hamilton (Montpellier) will return midway through the season, with rumours of some of their Premiership contingency returning failing to die down.

Winger Jacinta Windsor was one of several young guns on display during the trials. Photo: Getty Images

After the announcement of further funding into the Wallaroos and 15-a-side women's game, a combined Trans-Tasman competition is a no-brainer in Robinson's eyes.“(Expansion) is something we need to work towards, whether that is with (Super Rugby) Aupiki comp or two rounds of Super W, that needs to be locked in because we need to be playing high-level Rugby for longer than eight weeks a year,” Robinson said last week.We train so hard for so long, we start in November at the Tahs; we train through November, December, January, February and then we play for eight weeks, so we train for five months to play for two months."I think that the level that we're at, we need to get better and better, so we have to be playing better teams and playing more consistently.“2025, We want to win that World Cup and to be at that level, we need to be pushing each other every day and creating competition within those teams to be able to get there. By playing ourselves all the time, it circulates competition instead of pushing competition, so by playing external teams, it drives you to be better. At the end of the day, that's what we need."What the money does as well is it making our product better by them putting money into us and giving us better resources, we can train more, get stronger, fitter and faster and the game progresses and it's a more entertaining and better product for the viewer.”“Even adding Fiji to the comp made a huge difference to the level of the footy that we played,” Duck added.“If we can add the New Zealand girls, the level of Rugby in NZ and Australia is only going to improve the standard of the Rugby we’re going to play.“Of course as players we’re excited at the opportunity of meeting our counterparts across the water and playing them.” The current Super W format runs for seven weeks, almost half the duration of its English counterpart.Despite their World Cup success, the New Zealand model is ever shorter, with Aupiki only running for just over a month.The decision is seen as a no-brainer by players from both sides of the ditch, eager to keep driving the standards"The Waratahs coming over opens up the door for bigger opportunities," Chiefs and Black Ferns co-captain Kennedy Simon said after the game on the broadcast"It was awesome to get the ball rolling and see where we can improve."“That experience was amazing," Waratahs counterpart Duck added"If the way the girls played (like that) heading into our pre-season, we just hope cause the intensity and level of Rugby here (is so high), we can make this competition in the future."It's so exciting for women's Rugby and what it brings for us."The Rugby we play in Australia and NZ are two completely different styles and if we can merge that and get more international exposure together, it's only going to make both countries so much better."Click Here: essendon bombers guernsey 2019