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Wednesday June 6, 2018

SPORT

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Black Ferns contract for young local player By Glenise Dreaver

Schoolgirl Dhys Faleafaga, already contracted to the Black Ferns. PHOTOS: Glenise Dreaver (ABOVE) and College Sport (LEFT)

Black Stacks selected at nationals The 2018 NZ Sport Stacking Open Championships were held at Northland Memorial Community Centre, Wellington on Sunday June 3 with several national records broken. Video footage will be sent to the USA for the potential records to be verified. The tournament saw competitors ranging from ages 10-55 gather from all over New Zealand to compete in six events (three individual, two doubles, one relay). There was stacks of fun as competitors from around the country competed in a competition that is open to everyone. The sport has become recognised as being active and healthy, improving ambidexterity, concentration and hand-eye coordination.

The novice section enabled those new to the sport to compete alongside seasoned stackers, facing the same thrill of a competition whilst striving for goals and records amongst those of equal experience. The championships double as trials for the New Zealand Black Stacks in this internationally-recognised sport. The overall winners (combined male and female) who all made it to the 2018 Black Stacks team, were: 1 Caleb Arthur (Marton, Rangitikei), 2 Sarina Wang (St Kentigern College, Auckland), 3 Ben Lovelock (Dunedin), 4 Nathan Carter (Wellington Boys’ College), 5 Caleb Smith (Wainuiomata)

Despite still being at school, seventeen-year-old Dhys Faleafaga has just signed a contract for the national Black Ferns women’s rugby union team, one of the 28 players offered the first-ever 15s contracts. A Year 13 student at St Mary’s College, Dhys says she won’t actually be able to play for them until she turns 18 in October. She is however, training with squad members at the Rugby League Park gym in Wellington three times a week, from 6.30-7.30am. It’s only two years ago that she started playing union, having tried a season of club rugby with mixed teams at the age of five. “But I stopped. I was scared.” She says she was still too scared to try it out in Year 9 and 10 at school. It was in Year 11 when, having played netball for years, that her rugby-playing friends insisted she go to practices. “They forced me!” Success came quickly and she was selected as a back for the national sevens teams, first in the under 17’s then under 18’s. It was after one of their camps that she was approached by

a Black Ferns representative. “They seemed pretty keen on contracting me but I didn’t think too much about it. I thought perhaps next year.” But the contract arrived that will see her eligible for their end of year tour, though she’s not sure to where. For club and rep rugby she says she was always put in the back, though she played as a forward all her life for school rugby. And that’s where she was selected to play for her country. “It’s a big step up.” Dhys says that when her dad heard about her selection, he didn’t believe her. “You’re too young, too small,” he told his 175cm, 85kg daughter. “Mum was just really happy for me.” Despite her fears, she has had only one injury – a dislocated finger on last year’s tour to Australia that put her out for a fortnight. And a good physio has averted the need for knee surgery that seemed likely at one stage. With her sights set on a university study in Criminology, or perhaps a career in the police, Dhys is well aware the contract can help pave the way to a brighter and better future.

Calling netballers ANZ is calling for applications for assistance that will help Wellington netball fans achieve their netball aspirations. Over the past five years ANZ has provided sponsorship worth nearly $500,000 to teams, clubs, schools and players all over New Zealand, for kit, for high performance netball gear, expert coaching, court and club makeovers, even dream experiences. Last year St Francis de Sales

School in Island Bay applied because their courts doubled up as a church car park, meaning constant wear and tear to the lines. They received a court makeover including freshly painted court markings, new goal posts, new gear bags and match balls. Wellington netball clubs, teams, players and fans can tell ANZ what they need at anzcourtside.co.nz

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

Those sorry, sad Springboks

Stacking: as sport that improves dexterity, concentration and hand-eye co-ordination. PHOTO: Supplied

LOCAL RUGBY RESULTS: • Premier Reserve (Harper Lock Shield) Johnsonville beat Oriental Rongotai 36-32 Old Boys University beat Petone 24-17 • Women’s (Rebecca Liu’ana Trophy) Oriental Rongotai beat Old Boys University 79-7 • 85kg Restricted (JC Bowl) Old Boys University beat Eastbourne 10-8

Paraparaumu beat Johnsonville 26-10 Marist St Pats beat Western Suburbs 24-19 • Reserve Grade (Mike Copeland Trophy) OBU 69ers beat Marist St Pats 28-19 Paremata-Plimmerton beat OBU Teddy Bears 34-14 OBU Righteous Brothers beat Upper Hutt 36-26

The demise of Springbok rugby is as sad as it is concerning. An underwhelming South African side lost 22-20 to Wales on Sunday morning at a game played in America. Erratic, fumbling and bumbling South Africa showed forward dominance but no other poise in a loss to a Welsh side who were as equally underwhelming. Gone, so it seems, are the days of a ruthless Springbok side who were the most physically imposing side of my childhood in the 1990s. There doesn’t seem to be any composure in tight situations. One of the most compelling images from my sporting viewing as a child was then All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick thumping the turf of Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld in exhaustion

upon his team’s first-ever series win in South Africa. Such was the effort needed, most of the men in black were left lying on the turf, physically drained and teary-eyed, overcome with emotion at their accomplishment. Nowadays, South Africa has only beaten the All Blacks twice in the past 17 tests and hasn’t tasted victory since 2014. Questions must be asked if South Africa are picking their best players, based on merit, form and ability or whether they are making decisions based on political notions and forces. There is no denying that over my time, South Africa are no longer the much vaunted side they once were. Based on Sunday’s loss, rock bottom may not have been found just yet.

Independent Herald 06-06-18  

Independent Herald 06-06-18

Independent Herald 06-06-18  

Independent Herald 06-06-18