Black Ferns timely boost to girls’ rugby
The Black Ferns’ World Cup success has fired up the interest of young girls’ in rugby.
By just how much was evident at the civic celebration for the world champions at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau last Thursday.
The majority of the 300 or so well wishers were by far girls. They were of primary, intermediate and secondary school age and included the Southern Cross Campus girls’ 1st XV, Auckland champions for the last four years.
The champion Rosehill College girl’s 1st XV were also there, including Utumalama Atonio, who started at centre for the Counties Manukau Heat against Canterbury.
‘‘We’re really proud of what they achieved and came to pay our respects,’’ Antonio says.
Roscommon School’s Lavinia Dangn (10) definitely wants to give rugby a crack.
‘‘The Black Ferns winning the World Cup has got me interested,’’ she says.
The Gardens School Mikaylah Williams, 11, and Rana Alhamadany,10, were excited to be at the celebrations and to be collecting their heroes’ signatures.
‘‘I love the Black Ferns and what they achieved. I also love playing rugby,’’ Williams says.
Alhamadany doesn’t play rugby but she loves the game. ‘‘Yes, I watched the final and was thrilled when the Black Ferns won.’’
Both were blown away by the haka the Black Ferns performed on stage.
‘‘We’ll remember the haka for a long time,’’ they say.
Southern Cross Campus’ openside flanker Tuiala Iakopo is so happy she got as close as she did to the Black Ferns.
‘‘Girls in our 1st XV are all passionate about their rugby so it was a thrill to be here today to see the Black Ferns and the World Cup [trophy] and exciting to be able to get so close to them.
‘‘As a rugby player, seeing what they achieved encourages me to keep going.’’
Iakopo named Black Ferns captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili and the winner of four of New Zealand’s five world cups, as her favourite player.
‘‘She is a wonderful role model for Pacific Island women,’’ says Iakopo.
Southern Cross Campus' Tuiala Iakopo World Cup winning Black Ferns are welcomed at the Vodafone Events Centre.