|Dreams of wearing the black jersey are a lot closer to becoming a reality for Wellington’s 18-year-old Dhys Faleafaga, who has today been confirmed as a contracted member of the Black Ferns Sevens squad for the remainder of 2019.Following in the footsteps of her older sister Lyric, who was in the team in 2017/18, Dhys joins the Black Ferns Sevens on the back of impressive outings for the national development team over the past two months.Her inclusion bolsters the squad that is managing a number of injuries mid-way through their 2018/19 season.Faleafaga said joining the Black Ferns Sevens has been a dream come true.“I still find it a bit overwhelming; these are players that I have looked up to and now I am training alongside them.“I didn’t realise how much there was to learn as a professional athlete. At the moment I just want to soak up everything and work towards making my debut,” said Faleafaga.Faleafaga was one of 28 players who were the first to ever earn Black Ferns contracts, while still at school. Although still uncapped for the Black Ferns 15s team, her impressive history included taking St Mary’s College to a first ever national 1st XV title, and debuting for the Wellington Pride in the Farah Palmer Cup.|
High Performance Sevens Manager Tony Philp said being able to bring in a player with Dhys’ potential was a great opportunity to create further depth in the programme.“Dhys has been identified as having a big future in the game and has been involved in both the Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens environments.“Bringing her in fulltime into the Black Ferns Sevens squad will expose her to the professional side of the game and give her access to the best coaching and conditioning as she develops her game.”Faleafaga’s elevation is the latest in a number of players who have graduated from the development programme to the full Black Ferns Sevens squad.“We can’t stress enough how important our development programmes are in identifying and nurturing talent. Dhys is the perfect example of a player that has stepped up from provincial sevens into the development programme and showed she has the ability to take that next step.“It’s also another example of how the Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens programmes can work together as we develop our players across both formats,” said Philp.Faleafaga joins the 20 fully contracted Black Ferns Sevens players that are based in Mt Maunganui. She is one of four players in the squad that finished school in 2018.