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Black Ferns share World Cup joy, promote women’s rugby

Tuesday 29 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Rugby Union, Sports

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Black Ferns share World Cup  joy, promote women’s rugby
Black Ferns Cook Islander Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, Cook Islander Maiakawanakaulani (Maia) Roos and Krystal Murray at the Punanga Nui Market. 22112806

Fresh from guiding the Black Ferns to Women’s Rugby World Cup victory, Cook Islanders who were part of the team’s campaign are here on a well-deserved break.

New Zealand Black Ferns forwards, Cook Islander Maiakawanakaulani (Maia) Roos and Liana Mikaele-Tu'u are visiting Rarotonga for a well-deserved holiday after winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup earlier this month.

The best mates made instant impacts on their first tour against England in 2021, Roos in Northampton and Mikaele-Tu'u in Exeter.

Roos, 21, hails from the Turepu Peyroux family in the village of Ngatangiia, her mother Tia’s brothers are Paul and Steven Peyroux.

She was nominated for Breakthrough Player of the Year in the World Rugby awards and flew to Monaco for the event. Her team mate Ruby Tui won the award.

Black Ferns forwards Liana Mikaele-Tu'u and Maia Roos with World Cup trophy. Picture: Getty Images/22112825
Black Ferns forwards Liana Mikaele-Tu'u and Maia Roos with World Cup trophy. Picture: Getty Images/22112825

Roos arrived in Rarotonga last Wednesday and ran coaching clinic at local schools and with upcoming players alongside fellow Black Ferns.

She said she took up rugby because “it was just another opportunity to hang out with friends and have some fun”.

Speaking of her World Cup experience, Roos said: “I felt really proud, especially because of how our teams turned around in the last year … from getting beaten to winning the World Cup against the two, in semis against France and the final against England.”

“So, it’s been really cool to see how much our team has been able to change and grow.”

For 20-year-old Mikaele-Tu'u, who is visiting Rarotonga for the first time, winning the World Cup “did not feel real...”

“And the best thing about rugby is probably the people that I’ve met, I probably wouldn’t have met Maia or be here,” she added.

Mikaele-Tu’u grew up in the Hawkes Bay watching her twin brothers Marino and Antonio play rugby.

Mikaele-Tu'u and Marino both made it into rugby’s history books in 2021 as the first sister and brother duo to play Super Rugby – she for the Blues, he for the Highlanders.

At the time she was playing in the World Cup, Marino was in the Northern Hemisphere making his debut for the All Blacks XV.

On Saturday, Roos and Mikaele-Tu'u joined fellow Black Ferns Krystal Murray and Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate at the Vodafone booth at the Punanga Nui Market, promoting women’s rugby, signing autographs and meeting people.

They are here until the end of the week and will be “back into training” when they return to New Zealand.