Rugby: Blues, Chiefs to play historic Super Rugby women's match

The Blues and Chiefs will create rugby history, when they square off in the first-ever women's Super Rugby game.

On Saturday, May 1, the two teams will lock horns as part of a doubleheader, alongside the franchises' men's teams at Eden Park.

The match is an early step towards establishing a permanent women's Super Rugby competition, with both teams eager to start blazing that trail.

"We are incredibly excited about this match," says Blues chief executive Andrew Hore. "It is something both clubs have spoken about for some time now.

"We are really keen to develop a women's programme for the future. We see this as a huge opportunity to kick-start that dream."

Black Ferns great and now Blues assistant coach Anna Richards says it's the next natural step in the evolution of women's rugby.

"This is super exciting," says Richards. "Our game has progressed significantly for women in the last four years, since that great World Cup in 2017. 

"The girls are now contracted and this is the next step forward. It is a natural progression and the women’s game is ready for it."

Chiefs assistant and former England Rugby World Cup winner La Toya Mason believes the match will help usher in a new era for the women's game, potentially providing a whole new avenue for aspiring young players.

"These are the moments in life that you think ‘what an amazing opportunity for me’, but the bigger picture is this is going to change women's rugby forever and the players have such a great opportunity ahead of them," says Mason.

"It adds a whole new dynamic to what New Zealand Rugby Union can offer up-and-coming Kiwi women in the pro rugby scene. 

"It also gives the young girls out there playing rugby more role models to see and more rugby opportunities to aspire to."

The Blues will be led by Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell, whose Black Ferns teammate Chelsea Alley looms as a key player for the Chiefs.

"I've grown up watching the Chiefs and Super Rugby," says Alley. "It's such a big part of NZ rugby.

"It's been a long time coming to see us women in a franchise jersey. 

"When I get to pull on that Chiefs jersey it's going to be special - a moment I'll always remember and cherish and hopefully we'll be able to see more girls wear it after us."

The rest of the squads will be announced at a later date.

The match will kick off at 4:35pm, with the men's game to begin at 7pm.