Emotional scenes in Buenos Aires, after ’Baby Ferns’ claim Youth Olympic Games gold
The emotion flowed for our under-18 womens’ side in Buenos Aires, as their families gathered in the stands to perform an emotional victory haka.
They stood united, just as they had moments earlier, on the top step of the podium - after living up to their own expectations and winning the Youth Olympic Games.
“It’s so surreal, I’m still soaking up the atmosphere and the feeling,” captain Risi Pouri-Lane said.
While their overall campaign had been nothing but dominant, it took a tough match against France in the final to seal the victory, 15-12.
“We know we have a target on our back,” Tiana Davison said. “But that’s like a drive for us, to push through that, we were thriving not surviving today and it’s absolutely incredible.”
Their victory just affirms New Zealand Rugby’s dominance on the world stage, and it’s also evidence of the growth in the women’s game.
“This has been a way to show we can thrive at the next level, it’s there in everyone’s grasp,” Davison said.
Just weeks out from the Youth Olympic Games, the ‘Baby Ferns’ lost three players to injury - including Black Fern Jazmin Hotham.
“Just to think of everything we’ve been through as a team, having three new players come in, and to have this gold medal, well it’s surreal,” Pouri-Lane said.
They put their swift success as a squad down to the culture coach Jimmy Sinclair helped install in the side.
“We had our own individual Patu,” Davison said. “His name’s Pat… he’s our strength and we used them as our weapons today.”
Pouri-Lane also lead the ‘Baby Ferns’ our for the final carrying a Patu - while the rest of the team ran out united and linked in a chain.
“We’re all a wall of black and unbreakable, with connection and composure all at the same time, it’s a good way to get in the other team’s head,” Davison said.
“There’s not going to be anyone like us again - this team isn’t going to be together again in this age group and that’s something we can hold onto.”Buenos Aires 2018 Olympic Summer Youth Games Rugby - Sevens