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Manawatū Cyclones Captain Rachael Rakatau signs with the Hurricanes Women’s Team for 2022

Wed 22nd Dec

Manawatū Cyclones captain Rachael Rakatau is heading to the capital to link up with younger sister Sarah Hirini for the upcoming 2022 Super Rugby Aupiki competition. 

Rakatau, a lock, 6 – co-captained the Cyclones with new Hurricanes teammate Selica Winiata as they won the 2021 Farah Palmer Cup, Championship.  

“I feel really honoured to be joining the Hurricanes,” Rakatau said.  

“I’ve lived in the region my entire life and never imagined a Hurricanes women’s team would be possible, so to be a part of the very first women’s team is incredibly special.” 

“Having my sister in the team too makes it even more exciting.” 

Rakatau’s sister Sarah Hirini was the first player announced as part of the Hurricanes inaugural women’s team in November.  

Rakatau and Hirini signing to the Hurricanes is not a first for their family. Cousin Dan Kirkpatrick played for the men’s side in 2009, and again in 2011-12. 

Hurricanes women’s head coach, Wes Clarke said he was thrilled to have Rakatau joining his side.  

“I’m excited about having Rachael in this squad. She brings a wealth of experience, having played in some very successful FPC teams for Manawatū. She is a respected leader, not only in Manawatū, but around the country.” 

“She can play both lock and 6 so that gives us some cover in more than one position as well.” 

“She’s from that same farming background as her sister Sarah [Hirini], so very tough, both mentally and physically, and in great physical shape because of that.”  

Rakatau debuted for Manawatū in 2018 before missing a season while pregnant but has been a reliable and hard-working lock or loose forward since then. 

An associate partner at Allan McNeill Chartered Accountants in Feilding, Rakatau has two children, Keita, 3, and Paora, 1. 

Super Rugby Aupiki will kick off March 5, 2022. 

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