Loose forward Maddie Feaunati has returned from a stint playing in the United Kingdom and is preparing for another season of Super Rugby Aupiki.
The 2023 season was one to remember for Maddie. After making her Hurricanes Poua debut, she made history with Marist St Pats winning our maiden Tia Paasi Memorial Cup championship. To cap it off she headed to the UK where she linked up with Exeter Chiefs Women who play professionally in the Premier 15s competition.
Having recently returned home to Wellington, Maddie reflected on her time with Exeter. 'It was a really cool experience, something I'm really grateful for. We grew up in the UK so it was really cool to be back there and soaking it all in. I really enjoyed meeting so many amazing players and learning heaps'.
'I've learned a lot on what I need to do to perform and improve as a player. Definitely seen and had a taste of where rugby can take you so just kept me hungry for wanting more in 2024.'
Maddie will have the opportunity to put those learnings to practice immediately, with the Hurricanes Poua having already assembled for the 2024 season. Their first match is against Chiefs Manawa in Hamilton on 2 March.
Looking further into the year Maddie will play a key role in Marist St Pats' follow up to a historic 2023 season. The side has a great culture of welcoming and developing new players. Maddie's words of advice for those thinking about playing rugby: 'Just do it. I didn't start until I left school but I wanted to do it for so long and never looked back since. You'll make the bestest of friends and learn a new skillset.'