Experienced lock Jackie Patea-Fereti has today been named as captain of the Hurricanes Poua ahead of their 2024 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki (SRA) campaign.
She will be joined by Layla Sae and Iritana Hohaia at the helm, who have been named as vice-captains.
Patea-Fereti – who is the most capped player to have worn the Wellington Pride jersey and is renowned for her contribution to the game from club to international level – said while she is extremely honoured to be named captain for 2024, she was initially taken aback from her call up to the role.
“I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting it,” said Patea-Fereti.
“There are a handful of players in the team who align themselves naturally with the Poua’s values, so it would have been a tough decision for the coaching staff to make. But I am honoured to have been given this opportunity and will look to represent our region and make our fans proud.”
The former Black Fern said being named as Poua Captain is an honour she doesn’t take lightly and intends to lead the Poua through her actions, on and off the field.
“Captaincy isn’t a position that anyone should take lightly. It’s a position that holds a lot of Mana and responsibilities. For me, I carry my Faith, Aiga and Province. It’s a lot to take on as a player and I believe you must always lead by example wherever you go. I know I will also be judged at times by the decisions I make, but I am up for the challenge.
“I am not a captain who talks a lot. I will speak if I need to, but I prefer to lead through my actions while making sure I uphold our team’s values. I am really looking forward to serving, working alongside our Vice-Captains, as well as leading my sisters in this campaign.”
The former Black Fern is looking fit and sharp ahead of SRA and is craving to get out onto the paddock alongside her teammates, after experiencing a season-ending injury in the first round of SRA in 2023, when she was also named captain.
“Last season I fractured my right orbital in the first game against Chiefs Manawa. I was so gutted when I was ruled out from playing with my teammates, but to be given another opportunity to play another season is a blessing. I give glory back to God for His favour on me, no matter how many times I have fallen, He will gracefully open doors for me.”
Patea-Fereti said while this year’s Poua side is a young team, she has no doubt they have what it takes to produce a successful season as well as some future Black Ferns.
“We have a lot of youth within our squad who will be debutants this year which is exciting,” said Patea-Fereti.
“Compared to other teams, we only have a handful of big stars, Joanah Ngan-Woo, Iritana Hohaia, Layla Sae to name a few. But witnessing these new players in this environment, with the majority coming from within the Hurricanes region, which is exciting for those aspiring to be a Hurricane Poua in the future, I believe we can do some great things this season and hopefully see some of them wearing the Black Ferns jersey in the future.
Hurricanes Poua Head Coach Ngatai Walker said he was excited to be able to call on someone of Patea-Fereti’s calibre and experience to lead the Poua this season.
“I’m hugely excited for Jackie,” said Walker.
“Seeing her over the last two pre-season camps we’ve had, connecting with people on and off the field, but also her work ethic, really decided it for us in the end.
“She’s been a Black Fern before; she’s got a ton of experience; leads by example; shows heaps of mana; and has been an outstanding role model for the club and players. The coaches know she’ll be strong in her preparation, driven to see the team do well, train with intent, and will be relentless in the way she plays, which lines up with our team’s values. We know she is the right person for the job.”