The New Zealand Women's sevens team have been out visiting the regions after returning home from Rio as silver medalists to inspire the future generation of female sevens players.
Our facility was the first stop on the nationwide tour with players Sarah Goss (Captain), Huriana Manuel and Kayla McAlister dropping in.
Sport and Rugby Institute’s General Manager, Denis Jenkins says the Institute are proud supporters of women’s rugby and jumped on the chance to give the girls an opportunity to meet their heroes.
“The tour is aimed at inspiring the next generation of players, but also to celebrate and thank our NZ Women’s Sevens for their achievements and for representing our country so well. It gives these up and coming girls the opportunity to meet some of the players, and hear a bit about their story and experience.
The high school students came from Manukura, Tu Toa, Feilding High School, St Peters, Queen Elizabeth College, Tararua College and a busload of girls from various Whanganui and Foxton schools.
Students were given the chance to ask the players questions and grab a photo with the medal winners.
When asked who she looked up to Goss said, “a lot of people, but I still look up to my parents who are the hardest working people I know and they never stop working.”
Goss was lucky enough to meet Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey while at the Games. “He was just standing near the camera and we just started chatting and he was really nice and actually knew a lot about rugby and was excited to see us play.”
The 23-year-old grew up in Manawatū. “I’m locked here, and if it wasn’t for FAHS [Fielding High School], my support, being able to train at this institute, I wouldn’t be standing here with a medal.”
Leading the team in to the first Rugby Sevens Olympics campaign will be a lasting memory for Goss. “The closing ceremony was awesome and there were so many people, dancers and athletes just taking it all in – it was surreal.”
After the question session, the students were invited to take part in a skills session, followed by autographs and photos with the players and their silver medals.