Lyric singing from a busy songsheet
‘‘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.’’
17-year-old Lyric Faleafaga has been loving training with the Black Ferns Sevens squad.