Tiana takes on net­ball and Tag20 rugby

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SAMHEWAT

Tiana Brown may have a tough de­ci­sion on her hands.

The 12-year-old St Cuth­berts stu­dent re­cently made New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tive sides for two dif­fer­ent sports, and pick­ing which one to go with could be a chal­lenge.

In July, Brown will travel to Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa to take part in an un­der 14 net­ball tour­na­ment with New Zealand.

When she re­turns, she’ll shift her fo­cus to the Pa­cific Cup Tag20 rugby tour­na­ment in Melbourne held in Novem­ber.

Tag20 is Aus­tralia’s equiv­a­lent to Rippa Rugby, which in­volves players rip­ping rib­bons - or tags - off the op­po­si­tion in­stead of tack­ling them.

By the end of the year, Brown can tick off two new des­ti­na­tions to her al­ready well-trav­elled re­sume - hav­ing al­ready been to the United States and Canada.

How­ever, there’s some­thing spe­cial about these two trips that has the young­ster thirst­ing for more.

‘‘I’m just re­ally ex­cited to put on that New Zealand uni­form,’’ Brown said.

‘‘Just know­ing I’m rep­re­sent­ing my coun­try, that’s what ex­cites me most.’’

Her net­ball career started when she was 10-years-old, and af­ter mak­ing var­i­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams, she was snapped up for the New Zealand side.

Her se­lec­tion into the Tag20 team was slightly more hap­haz­ard.

She was pulled along by a friend be­cause the team needed more players, and wound up be­ing se­lected to the New Zealand team which will play in the un­der 18 grade at the Melbourne tour­na­ment.

‘‘I was re­ally sur­prised, I thought they wouldn’t want any­thing to do with me, so it was a mas­sive shock,’’ she said.

But ul­ti­mately, her loy­alty lies with net­ball, and she hopes that some­day she can be­come a Sil­ver Fern.

At only 12 years of age, mak­ing two na­tional teams is ex­tremely rare. How­ever, ini­tially Brown wasn’t sure if she’d be able to make the trips.

While she is mo­ti­vated to play net­ball and Tag20, she’s also a ded­i­cated track ath­lete and just re­cently picked up bas­ket­ball. Cou­pled with school­ing, train­ings, and games, her life is al­ready as full as it can be.

‘‘It took us a while to think about it due to all my other com­mit­ments,’’ Brown said.

SAM HEWAT/FAIR­FAX NZ

Tiana Brown, 12, has made two New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams for two dif­fer­ent sports - net­ball and Tag20 rugby.

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