Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Don’t blink when Rangataua winger Mariah Ririnui gets her hands on the ball, because you’re likely to miss her.
The 26-year-old used to hold the New Zealand women’s 100m sprint and long jump titles. But now she’s burning it up on the rugby field.
It is her first season playing rugby and says she is enjoying the new challenge and being in a team environment.
“I’ve been really lucky because I’ve been training with the Rangataua girls. They are all really supportive. We are a whanau-based club and we just really look out for each other.”
Although her team lost to Rangiuru 29-24, Rangataua assistant coach Jamie Keenleyside was impressed by Ririnui’s performance.
“She’s really athletic and always seeking to learn. She’s only going to get better with more games under her belt.”
Ririnui’s fastest time for the 100m was a blistering 11.84 seconds but an Achilles injury stopped Ririnui from wearing the silver fern for New Zealand in athletics. But the Ngai Te Rangi/Ngati Ranginui descendent says she would love to one day wear the Black Ferns’ jersey.
But for now, the 176cm speedster is happy and proud to wear Rangataua colours. This Sunday, Ririnui’s team will travel to the seaside town of Matata to take on their premier women’s team.
In the other matches in Week 4 of the Baywide Women’s Club Rugby competition; Waimana host Rangiuru at Rugby Park in Whakatane on Saturday, while Rotoiti travel to Puarenga Park to take on Whakarewarewa on Sunday. Mount Manunganui have the bye.
All matches kick-off at 1pm.
Click here for all Baywide Women's Club Rugby draws.