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Ruby Tui make history for New Zealand

The 29-year-old won fans for her candid post-match interviews while her on-field efforts helped make history for New Zealand

“It was a surreal, full-circle moment,” Ruby Tui says of playing to an empty stadium at the Tokyo Olympics.

Ten years ago, Tui picked up a pair of second-hand rugby boots with worn-down studs for $20 and played her first game.

Ruby Tui

Back then, the sidelines were nearly empty. Despite rugby being the national sport of New Zealand – and women’s teams dominating the international playing field – their efforts have been grossly under-recognised and under-supported.

Fast-forward to the Tokyo Olympics women’s rugby sevens finals: Covid-19 forced supporters to watch from afar, and the irony was not lost on Tui.

“We get to the top-of-the-top and again there were no crowds, it was pretty crack up,” she laughs.

The Black Ferns Sevens stormed to their first Olympic gold, beating France 26-12.

Their historic win catapulted the team into the country’s Olympics hall of fame, and Tui’s sense of humour and affability fast sealed her place as a contemporary sporting icon.

But the road to get there was not always easy.

 

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