Black Ferns timely boost to girls’ rugby

Papakura Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - ALAN APTED

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.

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