Louisa eyes NZ spot

Former Coca-Cola Games star, Louisa Tabuilagi, after a training session with the Northland Kauri women’s rugby team playing in the Farah Palmer Cup in New Zealand. Inset: Tabuilagi scores a try for her Northland Kauri side. Pictures: SUPPLIED

Fiji secondary schools champion sprinter is running towards becoming the first Fijian to be selected into the New Zealand Black Ferns 7s team.

Louisa Tabuilagi has exchanged her track shoes for rugby boots and has been named in the Northland Kauri team that is playing in the Farah Palmer Cup, formerly NZ’s Women’s Provincial Championship.

The competition is the highest level domestic women’s rugby competition in NZ from late August to early November.

Tabuilagi and her family moved to NZ in 2018 and they live at Mangawhai in Northland.

To date she is still awed by her rugby selection.

“To be honest I was stoked. I’m new to the game and still learning the best I possibly can since I took up playing rugby in April, 2019,” she said from NZ yesterday.

“I thank God for the breakthrough and for bringing me this far. There are big names in the Northland Kauri team such as Portia Woodman, Tyla Nathan Wong from Black Ferns 7s, Aroha Savage and TK, Vic from the Black Ferns 15s. To play alongside them is a dream come true.”

The former St Joseph’s Secondary School sprinter alongside Helena Young, said playing in the Farah Palmer Cup tourney could help her get spotted for the world champion Black Ferns 7s team which plays alongside the Fijiana 7s in the annual World Rugby Sevens Series.

“I want to play for New Zealand to be the first Fijian woman to don that famous Black Ferns jersey. I always look up to Portia and playing alongside her boosts me to go and get that Black Ferns jersey.”

The competition started early this month where her Northland Kauri side lost to Auckland Storm 22- 29, a team filled with a few Black Ferns 7s and 15s reps.

Her mother Mere said: I’m very proud of her progress knowing that she only took up rugby last year and this is her second year of learning and playing the game and to get to that level is just amazing.

I always tell her to ‘Do it for love’ if you love doing something you will go a long way.”

Louisa encourages Fijian youths to work hard to become successful.

“Put that hard work on and remain focused on your goal. Anything is possible; you can do it if you really truly believe you can.”

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