NZ women’s rugby sets eyes on gold in 2016 Olympics

NZ women’s rugby sets eyes on gold in 2016 Olympics

NZ women’s rugby sets eyes on gold in 2016 Olympics

Written by Staff Writer

11 Feb, 2015 | 10:09 am

Rugby is known as one of the most physical sports on the planet. New Zealand is known as one of the more successful teams in rugby who has dominated and continues to dominate much of the sport even today. But that’s just the men’s team. What about the women?

New Zealand’s Women’s rugby sevens team broke a 10-10 deadlock to a 17-10 win over Australia in the last two minutes of Brazil Sevens Final in Sao Paulo on Sunday, 8th of February and have set their sights on the gold in 2016 Olympics.

Rugby Sevens will be played for the first time in the Olympic Games in 2016, and the ongoing World Series is to determine the qualifying nations.

Having won the Dubai and Sao Paulo tournaments of the series, the New Zealand women’s team is making good tracks towards qualification.

Twenty-three-year-old player Portia Woodman has had an outstanding season, breaking the world women’s series record for number of tries scored in one tournament. Against Australia, Woodman scored her eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth tries, breaking her own previous record of 12 in a tournament.

She said her success was the result of team cooperation.

“It is pretty much the end result of the team effort. The forwards’ job is to get the ball and do all the hard work up front and then my job is to finish the job and get the ball over the try line and score the tries. For our team, it is pretty cool because it is like our game plan has worked and we have got a lot of things working for ourselves. We look forward to the next tournament in Atlanta,” Woodman said as she visited the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.

Beyond personal and team success, Woodman is encouraged by the fact that participation in women’s rugby has increased since rugby Sevens was included as an Olympic sport.

“In New Zealand it has brought a whole lot more women to the rugby field, I think it has increased by 12 percent, so it is really important that we keep putting our name out there and keep spreading the word of rugby sevens and women’s rugby out there. And for the Olympics, to get alongside the Valerie Adams and all those high performing athletes, to be alongside them in the Olympics is really, really cool,” she added.

Shotputter, Adams, has brought home two Olympic golds to New Zealand from both Beijing and London, and according to women’s rugby team coach, Sean Horan, the team will be gunning to follow suit in Rio.

“We have to qualify first, that’s the key. We’d love to be here, our whole vision is to achieve and obviously when you go to an Olympics you want to win it. It has never been done before, there has never been a women’s team standing on the podium getting gold ever before, so that’s pretty special, we hold that very dear. So we’ll just do what kiwis do and we’ll embrace it and walk towards it and give it a crack and what will be will be,” said Horan.

Four rounds in the series remain, beginning with Atlanta in six weeks time, and Canada six weeks after that.

In May, two successive weekends in London and Amsterdam will complete the series.

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