Former Hamilton Girls High School rugby captain Te Rina Te Tamaki, grew up in the Waikato city never thinking she could one day wear the black jersey at home.
Today however the 21 year old will take the field at FMG Stadium Waikato as part of the Black Ferns Sevens team when they play in the Fast Four tournament. She at high school saying the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 was her goal, "and I never thought in 2019 I would have the opportunity to play in New Zealand."
Te Rina Te Tamaki who grew up in Hamilton, is looking forward to playing at home for the Black Ferns this weekend. Photo/file
She, like many of her team mates, or "Sevens Sisters" as they are also known, is excited about playing in front of her family and friends. Her older brother, Isaac has played previously for the All Black Sevens team in Wellington. Te Rina Te Tamaki says "he never got to play at home, unfortunately," but the family are thrilled that she gets the opportunity, "for some reason they've chucked dad in the amber zone, so he'll be having a great time this weekend. Yeah there's a big buzz about it, and everyone's really excited."
The Black Ferns Sevens team has been looking forward to this weekend's tournament since last year when the Fast Four was announced. Te Tamaki says, aside from nerves in relation to being selected or not, the entire squad have been brimming with excitement during the past week, "to be able to come and play in NZ at home soil, yeah everyone's just buzzing, and there's a real cool vibe about it."
Playing in the city where she grew up has also seen allowed Te Tamaki to catch up with old friends, including some she hasn't seen for a while, "yeah, you have a few mates you haven't heard from in a while, that kind of hit you up again, it's like 'oh, OK'," she jokes, "but, yeah there's a lot coming around and just can't wait to see the girls. A lot of them are excited to come see female play, so yeah it's going to be cool," she says.
The Black Ferns Sevens will play England, France and China during the Fast Four tournament, with the hope being that a full World Series leg will be included in the future.