The national women's provincial rugby championship is set to be renamed the Farah Palmer Cup. This comes after NZ Rugby highlighted the need to give more focus to the women's version of the game.
The national women's provincial rugby championships is getting revamped and it's going to carry a Māori name.
“Bit whakamā about it when they first asked me I was a bit shy, so yeah, but I'm really happy,” says former NZ representative Dr Farah Palmer.
Dr. Farah Palmer would arguably be the luckiest in women's world rugby today. Her name is about to be dedicated to the national women's rugby championship trophy, and competition.
There have only been two others honoured in this fashion by NZ Rugby, that is, All Blacks legends, Sir Brian Lochore, and Sir Colin Meads.
Dr Palmer who affiliates to Ngāti Maniapoto says, “I'm actually a King Country girl, bought up in Piopio and Colin Meads lived just up the road so I feel quite honoured to be on the same level as him in terms of having a cup named after me.”
Palmer gathered 35 caps for the Black Ferns over her 10 year international career, in which she says was an integral time of growth for women's rugby in New Zealand.
“I started playing in the 1990s and there were women before that that were fighting to be recognised by the New Zealand Rugby Union, then to be recognised by the IRB and have a World Cup, so they did a lot of trailblazing and going against the norm just to get out there and wear a black jersey.”
Just last month, New Zealand Rugby released a detailed report outlining the significant inequalities that exist between the men's and women's versions of the game.
“To me it feels like [it's] about time. This is something we've been trying to advocate for, for a while, so I'm really pleased that they have recognised that this is an area that we can grow in and add to.”
Eight women's provincial sides from unions around the country will square off for the inaugural Farah Palmer Cup this year.
“I was just looking at it before and Auckland, Auckland, Auckland on there, I'd love to see Manawatū on there, where I'm currently based getting up there. I'll put it out there and say Manawatū.”
The rebranded women's format will get underway on August 6.