Lyric singing from a busy song­sheet

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

‘‘I love the free­dom of sevens.’’

Lyric Faleafaga has a lot on her plate right now.

The Porirua 17-year-old was a wide-eyed par­tic­i­pant as a train­ing con­tracted player for a Black Ferns Sevens camp in Wellington last week.

Af­ter hav­ing only taken up rugby sevens with a group of friends at St Mary’s Col­lege in 2015 - they won the na­tional sevens ti­tle a year later, over much-vaunted Hamil­ton Girls’ High School - it’s been a fast track into re­gional and na­tional colours for Faleafaga.

‘‘I was shocked and amazed to get the call-up - it only re­ally hit me when I got to the first train­ing and saw all the other play­ers.’’

Faleafaga was easy to spot at Black Ferns train­ing - while the youngest, she was also the tallest, at 1.8 me­tres. A back in the 15-aside game, she plays her sevens in the for­wards.

‘‘The train­ing with the Ferns has been in­cred­i­ble, so fast and more live than what we do at school, with con­tact and tak­ing the ball to ground like what hap­pens in a real game,’’ she said.

‘‘The rest of the team have been great and I’m learn­ing so much in a short space of time.

‘‘I love the free­dom of sevens, hav­ing all that space to run.’’

At­tend­ing Can­nons Creek and Windley schools, Faleafaga said rugby had al­ways been a fam­ily af­fair.

She hoped to turn out at some point in the fu­ture for Porirua club North­ern United, but that de­pended on com­mit­ments to school, sevens and her other sport­ing love - net­ball.

Faleafaga is in the New Zealand na­tional devel­op­ment squad for net­ball, so has in­ter­est­ing sport­ing de­ci­sions to make in her near fu­ture.

Rugby may win out be­cause her ul­ti­mate goal is to wear her coun­try’s colours in sevens at an Olympic Games.

‘‘I love net­ball and I love rugby. Right now I’m happy play­ing both be­cause I’m able to bal­ance that. ‘‘We’ll see what hap­pens.’’ Black Ferns Sevens coach Al­lan Bunting said per­for­mances at the re­cent na­tional sevens tour- na­ment made se­lec­tions tough.

‘‘There is ex­pe­ri­ence in the squad, but it is youth­ful ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he said.

‘‘Ev­ery player can go through to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and most of them for gold at the two games af­ter that.

‘‘Lyric is in her last year of school [so] it’s great to see that tal­ent com­ing through at such a young age.’’

PHOTO: JENELLE STRICK­LAND

17-year-old Lyric Faleafaga has been lov­ing train­ing with the Black Ferns Sevens squad.

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