An East Coast girls rugby sevens team is out to prove that rugby isn't just restricted to boys. This weekend Paikea Peak Performance team won their grade division at the Silverdale Juniors Sevens tournament in Auckland, their first club competition outside of their region.
They may still be on their rugby sevens L-Plates, but this U13 team have all the passion and skill of Black Ferns in the making.
Shelley Maree Rangihuna (Ngāti Porou) says, “It's quite easy for me because I've been training for a while now to be at the top of my game.”
Alizay Shantana Paddy Grant (Te Whānau a Apanui) says, “This is my first time playing rugby sevens but I've played rugby many times before.”
It's a sport fairly new to their region of the East Coast. Coach Trish Hina has been instilling the message that girls too can participate in rugby sevens at the same level as their boys.
Coach, Trisha Hina says, “We try and help them by sharing our experiences, myself I've played for New Zealand in four sports in touch, rugby and rugby league. So just giving my knowledge to help our female players to grow in the sport, to give it a go and just learn and they're enjoying it.”
Captain, Amelia Pasikala says, “Knowing that there's more opportunity for women these days playing rugby.”
Alizay Shantana Paddy Grant says, “My idol is Portia Woodman because she's skilful and she's passionate about the game.”
Trisha says having rugby sevens in the area has given a new avenue for the kids, especially with the high number of negative statistics concerning youth in their area.
Hina says, “This is a really good opportunity for our rangatahi it's all about them.”
Amelia Pasikala says, “It's a really good opportunity knowing that we are a little town and knowing that there's many talents in this place.”
The girls say their biggest dream is to play at an Olympics with the NZ Women's Sevens team.
Amelia Pasikala says, “Our younger ones, just watching them step up to be an All Black or a future Black Fern.”