The New Zealand Women’s Rugby Sevens Team has been awarded the prestigious Lonsdale Cup for 2018 at the Olympic Gala Dinner in Auckland this evening, following a year of inspiring and dominant performances.
2018 has seen the team win gold at the Commonwealth Games, win the Rugby World Cup Sevens and claim five World Series titles.
The team has lost only one game this calendar year and is on a 39 match winning streak.
The thrilling Commonwealth Games win was a highlight of the Gold Coast Games with Kelly Brazier running 90-metres to score and win the game in extra time.
Tyla Nathan-Wong and Niall Williams talk us through the Black Ferns sevens Lonsdale Cup win
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the 2018 Lonsdale winners.
“There were so many incredible performances at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, but the women's sevens win really was a stand-out, she said.
"They showed, and have continued to show, resilience, team spirit and pride as they perform at the very highest level in sport. I congratulate them and thank them for their contribution."
Above: The New Zealand women's sevens team with their gold medals at the Commonwealth Games
Minister for Sport Grant Robertson made this evening's presentation.
“Tonight's winners are ground-breakers for women’s sport, role models for girls and young women across the country and overall a generous, community- focused and inspirational team," he said as he presented the historic cup to Tyla Nathan-Wong, Niall Williams, Tenika Willison, Rhiarna Ferris, Huia Harding, Shiray Kaka who were in Auckland for the black tie dinner.
Captain Sarah Goss says the team couldn't have achieved the results without the support of friends, family and fans.
“It's been a huge year for us and we're really pleased with how we're going. It's great to be recognised with this award and it's just made us even more excited for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
“Our support staff are also amazing and what we do on the field wouldn’t be possible without them, so I’d like to pass on my thanks to them and everyone involved in the wider rugby sevens world as well.”
The Lonsdale Cup is the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award and is presented annually to the athlete or team that has made the most outstanding contribution to an Olympic or Commonwealth Sport.
The Lonsdale Cup was first awarded in 1961, with Sir Murray Halberg the inaugural recipient. Since then it has been won by a host of inspirational New Zealanders who have represented our country with pride and passion. Past winners include Dame Valerie Adams, Lisa Carrington, Sir John Walker, Barbara Kendall, Sir Peter Snell and many more.