Black Fern visits Waipa¯ schools with prized World Cup trophy
Waipa¯ schools were treated to a visit from Black Ferns prop Toka Natua on Thursday.
Toka, 26, dropped in to Te Awamutu College and Cambridge High School to show off a special trophy and promote women’s rugby.
The visits were part of a national tour showcasing the trophy, named ‘Nancy’, earned in New Zealand’s win over England in the final of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
That success and the rise of sevens has given the women’s game a boost.
The team named the cup after New Zealand-born World War II British special operations executive agent Nancy Wake.
The visit to the Te Awamutu College came as a big surprise to the group of 19 from the Girls 1st XV.
Toka shared rugby stories and spoke to the group about confidence.
“When I was at school playing rugby, I was the sort of girl who would walk off the field clean,” Toku said.
“But I soon learned how to be more confident and get stuck into the game.”
Toku said the encouragement from her family helped her selfesteem to develop over time.
“My family always taught me to go out there and give it my best.
“I learned not to be scared of my opposition — no matter how fast or big she was.”
Toku said her own selfconfidence was a work in progress. She told the group mental strength was just as important as physical strength.
“You can be the fittest and the strongest, but if you don’t believe in yourself you’ll go nowhere.”
Toka shared her experience of competing in the final of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.
She said it was at times intimidating to be up against other countries, but that “standing proud” was the key to success.
“It’s so important to be proud of who you are and where you come from.”
Toka, originally from Tokoroa, made her debut for the Black Ferns in 2015 against Canada.
Black Ferns prop Toka Natua (centre) with the Te Awamutu College Girls 1st XV and the trophy earned in New Zealand’s win in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup final.