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Pasikala flies high in debut season for Tui

RUGBY

by Angela Thomas, Wairoa Star

WAIROA College student Amelia Pasikala was named Hawke’s Bay Tui women’s rugby squad’s most promising player for 2020.

Hawke’s Bay Rugby women’s high-performance manager Mary-Jane Durkin said the 16-year-old midfield had a stand-out first season for Tui in the Farah Palmer Cup national women’s competition.

“We are impressed with her commitment. She comes to Napier up to three times a week over a minimum of eight weeks. We think her whanau support was pretty awesome.

“Getting in the starting line-up was an achievement and then maintaining that through the season was even more impressive.”

Support from her teammates and Hawke’s Bay Rugby helped her perform at a high level.

“We had a tuakana/teina system within our team,” said Durkin.

“At the start of the Farrah Palmer Cup, they room with a more experienced player, who can help them with tips and settling their nerves.

“Amelia is only 16 so we have tried not to overwhelm her with too much and allow her natural talent to develop.

“She is a sponge and really wants to know and learn more. We try to work out how we can offer as much to her to maximise her time while she is here.

That included game analysis with Hawke’s Bay Boys’ Academy rugby union facilitator Jason Shoemark.

“Credit must go to our Hawke’s Bay under-18s programme, because Amelia has had development through that, too.

“Early in September she was invited to attend the Hurricanes under-18 camp and was one of only eight females there.

Pasikala was “phenomenal” in her leadership of the Wairoa College team, including coaching and motivating her team, and making sure players got to games, Durkin said.

The season may not be over for Pasikala.

She is one of a group of 30 potential players in the running for the New Zealand side for the World School Sevens.

The 30 will be reduced to a squad of 14 to be announced on December 14.

Hawke’s Bay Tui finished fifth out of six teams in the South Pool of the Farah Palmer Cup. They lost 29-20 to Otago, 67-17 to Wellington, 72-15 to Canterbury and 29-12 to Manawatu. They beat Tasman 62-5.

WATCH THIS SPACE: Centre Amelia Pasikala’s impressive debut season for Hawke’s Bay Tui was rewarded with the award for the squad’s most promising player in 2020. Wairoa College student Pasikala is pictured in action against Manawatu. Picture supplied