Sisters doing it for their whānau

By James Perry

The Demant sisters, Ruahei and Kiritapu, have been training with the Black Ferns with the hope they will one day both wear the black jersey.

Younger sister Kiritapu made her Black Ferns debut 3 years ago, she says it was an unfortunate injury to Ruahei that allowed her to be called in. 

Ruahei has had a series of knee injuries during that time, meaning she has only recently had the chance to join her sister in the squad.

Kiritapu says, "It's an awesome feeling actually having my sister here."

However, she also says that because they are both vying for the same position in the squad, "it's a lot of competition going on at home as well as here on the field."

Her sister agrees, before adding that because they are both representing their family, hapū and iwi, the main thing is that one of them makes it. 

The Black Ferns don't play many matches at home. So it is no surprise then that Ruahei and Kiritapu Demant would love to one day play together in front of their family.

Ruahei says that for many years their parents, and even grandparents would drive them to their practices, day and night.

She specifically remembers travelling with her mother for up to 4 hours at a time. So being able to wear the black jersey at home where their family can watch is a big goal.

The Black Ferns are set to play a home and away series against Australia in August, so they may get an opportunity to do so shortly.

And with New Zealand Rugby putting in a bid to host the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2021, there could be many occasions on the horizons for the Whānau ā Apanui, Whakatōhea and Ngāti Awa descendants to play in front of their families.

The sisters are two of five siblings.  Kiritapu recalls an older sister's school rugby team "was losing, they always [lost], every game.  Day in, day out."  She says at 12 and 13 years old her father told them to join their sisters High School team. 

"We were at a different school...and that's how we got into it, we were actually forced. [It] wasn't voluntary."

They may not feel so forced to take the field if they are asked to in August against Australia.