The New Zealand Black Ferns will be cheered on by a record number of children, when the women’s rugby union side takes on neighbours Australia in the Laurie O’Reilly Cup at FMG Stadium Waikato.
According to a report from the Waikato Herald, it will be the first time since 2013 the city of Hamilton has welcomed the Black Ferns, and that ticket sales data has demonstrated a record number of children’s ticket sales.
New Zealand Rugby, which is hosting the test match, worked alongside FMG Stadium Waikato to cater for children and their families.
Black Ferns director of rugby Allan Bunting told the Waikato Herald: “We are humbled to see the incredible number of tamariki (children) tickets already purchased to watch our wāhine (women) take to the field. It shows the growing interest in women’s rugby, and the next generation’s enthusiasm for the style of rugby we are wanting to play.”
The Laurie O’Reilly Cup is a trophy that is contested by New Zealand’s and Australia’s women’s rugby union teams. It was first held in 1994 and is named after New Zealand’s first women’s national coach, Laurie O’Reilly, who died in 1998.
It was played annually between 1994 and 1998, but New Zealand’s dominance of the tie saw it disappear for some time. It was revived in 2007.
The match will take place tomorrow (Saturday).