Most of the rugby universe had its eyes on the start of the Guinness Six Nations this weekend. But on the other side of the world, there was just as much high-flying rugby action taking place. The HSBC Sydney Sevens brought together the best rugby sevens teams in the world, both male and female, for a three-day celebration of this incredibly exciting sport.
When all was said and done, the weekend belonged to the nation from across the Tasmin Sea. New Zealand’s men’s sevens side won their second leg of the 2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, defeating the USA (who have made the final of each of the four legs on the men’s series so far) in a repeat of the Dubai Sevens final.
But it is the women’s side, the New Zealand Black Ferns, who continue to leave the entire sport in their wake. Unbeaten again in Sydney, the reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens winners stretched their unbeaten run to 48 games. The Black Ferns have now won all three legs on the women’s series and look overwhelming favourites to reclaim the series crown.
They are unquestionably one of the most dominant teams in rugby right now. The quality of the women’s sevens game continues to go from strength to strength and the Black Ferns are the driving force pushing it forward.
In any sport, when teams this dominant emerge, it’s always easy to look past the personal stories at the heart of them. We see athletes on teams like this as machines, automatically all-conquering. But at Sydney Sevens, the story of one of the Black Ferns players was told. In the process, it brought to life the unique and surprising stories that exist in the world of rugby sevens.
A new film, created by HSBC, title partner of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, brings to life the story of Ruby Tui, one of the best players In the Black Ferns side.
Ruby tells the story of her childhood, where she overcame some incredibly challenging personal circumstances. She talks openly and honestly about the struggles of her early life and the role rugby played in helping her move on from them. It also gives a fascinating insight into her early years as a Black Ferns player, where she couldn’t even afford a sports bra or a new pair of boots.
It’s an inspiring and emotive story of an incredible player. As women’s rugby grows and grows, Ruby is an incredible inspiration to young women around the world who want to pick up the sport.
It’s also a timely reminder that sport isn’t played by robots, it’s played by people, people with complicated backgrounds and personal stories. The New Zealand Black Ferns are an all-conquering team, but they are so much more than that. They are a group of individuals, with different backgrounds and diverse stories, all brought together by a common goal. Their strength comes not just in their athleticism or their talent, but in their shared determination and their ability to harness all their personal motivations and move in one shared direction.
Ruby and her teammates are an incredible inspiration, and if you love rugby, their story is truly unmissable.
Written by James Fenn