Commonwealth Games gold inspires a new generation of Black Ferns

As Netball New Zealand battens down the hatches to review their shock Commonwealth Games result, the women's rugby team train continues to roll on with the Black Ferns Sevens recent success.

It's already sparking new interest from keen young girls wanting to join their local club.

This week, at Auckland's College Rifles Rugby Club, it's the turn of the NZ under-18 women's sevens side, sharing their passion for the game with the next generation.

"I love watching rugby," insists one young fan. That's a love created by moments like Kelly Brazier's extra-time try to take gold on the Gold Coast last weekend.

That success has sparked new interest at College Rifles.

"So I checked my emails and I had a parent letting us know their daughter wanted to play," says operations manager Gina Tuala. "That would have been off the back of that game."

Says NZ under-18 coach Victoria Grant: "For the kids, it's hugely inspiring to see that and that girls can do that."

Now it's the turn of the youth team, the first-ever women's age-group side to head to Australia this weekend, attempting to qualify for this year's Youth Olympics and hoping to match the success of the sevens sisters.

"I never dreamed to be able to play in an age-group team like this," says Tiana Davison. "I just thought it was for boys."

This comes in the wake of the Black Ferns World Cup win and sevens gold.

Risi Pouri-Lane was on the Gold Coast as part of the medal-winning team after an early decision to switch from netball to rugby.

"I didn't really know sevens was even at the Olympics, so that was pretty inspiring," she says.

Davison says: "It's awesome to see that there's an opportunity for us younger girls - a pathway for us coming through.

"I've idolised those girls my whole life."

Things are looking up for the idols of tomorrow.


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