Defence Ferns to play France in women's defence 'world cup'

By Kelvin McDonald
Deena Puketapu with captain Hayley Hutana in support scores a try in the semi-final game against Australia. Photo / Supplied

The Defence Ferns go head-to-head with France this Tuesday battling to be the first women's International Defence Rugby Champions.

This month the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) welcomed eight nations to Aotearoa for the very first women’s international defence rugby competition: Australia, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

While competing fiercely on field, the NZDF says the teams have cheered each other on and off the field, connecting through their passion for the game.

Defence Ferns co-captain, Air Force Corporal Hayley Hutana, said she is proud to face their opponents as a member of the NZ team and do the NZDF haka.

“It feels really powerful, especially because it’s unique to us.

"To be hosting the competition and performing the haka at home is such a special feeling.”

Three pool games and a semi-final have determined the teams to take the finals.

Fiji play Australia for 3rd and 4th, and Tonga take on the United Kingdom in the plate final.

All the finals matches - including the game between the Defence Ferns and France - are at College Rifles Rugby Club in Auckland on Tuesday 25 October and are open to the public.

The Plate final kicks off at 10.30am and the Defence Ferns final is at 1.00pm - which will also be available via livestream.

Match information, livestream and replays can be found on the NZDF competition website.