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 Rugby Union News 
Tuesday, November 15 2022
Rugby World Cup: Hopes Black Ferns' win will inspire more girls

Whanganui rugby leaders are expecting the buzz around the Black Ferns to inspire a new generation of players.

The New Zealand women beat England in front of a sold-out Eden Park in Auckland to capture another Rugby World Cup.

This was the team's sixth title - but none have captured the public attention as this one has.

Speaking from Auckland after attending the game, Whanganui Rugby Football Union chief executive Bridget Belsham - who herself made history as the union's first female boss - said the win by the Black Ferns would be a boost for young people wanting to participate in rugby.

Belsham said it was the most memorable rugby game she had ever seen.

"When Ruby Tui got on the microphone and started singing Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi, it was incredible. Hard to explain," she said.

"I was there until 11pm and there was still a huge amount of people and the Black Ferns signing the t-shirts of young girls and boys. That's what it's all about.

"You see how friendships have been formed and the enjoyment people can get out of playing rugby."

She hopes the tournament - and the Black Ferns' win - will inspire young people to pick up a rugby ball.

"I think this is going to be massive for encouraging young girls, and boys too," Belsham said.

"To see the women play with the absolute grit and determination of our Black Ferns... was really inspirational."

Belsham said there were opportunities and pathways for girls in rugby in Whanganui.

"Whether that's to get a Whanganui jersey, a Farah Palmer Cup jersey, or even a Black Ferns jersey."

She said there were talented females coming through Whanganui, including three in the Manawatū Cyclones women's rugby team this year. One of those is Sosoli Talawadua, who won the World Cup with the Black Ferns in 2017.

Talawadua is now the Whanganui union's development officer.

"We're there to support and grow the game for anyone who wants to play," Belsham said.

Whanganui Rugby Football Union chairman Jeff Phillips said it was a monumental moment for the Black Ferns.

"Particularly because they didn't go into the competition as favourites but came out victorious," Phillips said.

"England won 30 games in a row, and we had a horrible tour last year."

He said he thought this would empower more women to give rugby a go.


Posted by: AT 02:41 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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