It’s already been quite a year for Black Ferns Sevens youngster Risaleaana Pouri-Lane. The 18 year old received a sevens contract in February and two months later earned a gold medal alongside her teammates at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She’s now been named in the New Zealand under 18 sevens team for the Youth Olympic Games, which will be contested in Buenos Aires in October. We caught up with her for a quick chat.
Q: Congratulations on your selection for the Youth Olympic Games, how’s the team feeling?
A: We’re all pretty excited, we were stoked with how we went at the Oceania Qualifying Tournament after only spending a few weeks in camp together so that’s a good sign. The Youth Olympics is going to be a great opportunity for us to experience some international rugby at a very high level so everyone’s working hard in their hubs at the moment and then when we get the squad back together ahead of the Games we’ll all be on the same page and ready to go.
Above: Pouri-Lane playing in the Farah Palmer Cup in Nelson
Q: How does being part of the Black Ferns Sevens squad impact your role within the under 18 team?
A: I just think of myself as another team member, we’re all the same but I do try to be a bit of a leader with the team. I also definitely implement what I’ve learnt with the Black Ferns Sevens team in the under 18s environment so it’s great to be involved in both teams
Q: There’s real momentum building around women’s sport in New Zealand at the moment, what does it mean to you to be involved in that?
A: I’ve got to give the Black Ferns Sevens teammates a lot of credit for this because they’ve really paved the way for the younger generation, especially since the 2016 Olympics because following that there’s been a rapid rise in women’s rugby sevens. So many young girls have decided to give sevens a go and have loved it, so credit to the teammates for opening up so many different opportunities and pathways for the younger generation.
Above: Pouri-Lane in action
Q: What go you into rugby in the first place?
A: I started off playing 15s and my coach was really passionate about getting us all to tournaments and we were given so many opportunities and I got to learn so much which I loved. Then I started playing sevens in year nine and since then I’ve just loved it and just continued down that pathway.
Q: Have you been to South America before and what are you expecting at the Youth Olympics?
A: Never, so it should be a pretty amazing experience. For all of the girls in the team this is going to be something that we’ll remember forever and to be the first New Zealand rugby sevens team to go to the Youth Olympic Games is pretty special as well.Gold Coast 2018 Buenos Aires 2018 Olympic Summer Youth Games Commonwealth Games Risi Pouri-Lane