Dream comes true for Feilding's Hutana
'Never thought I would be where I am today'GEORGE HEAGNEY
A year ago Hayley Hutana was playing high school rugby and playing international rugby was something she dreamed of at night.
Now the Feilding 18-year-old is one of the 19 contracted New Zealand women's sevens players and is likely to be winging her way to the United States and Brazil next month.
Just a few months after finishing at Feilding High School, Hutana is one of five Manawatu players in the New Zealand squad along with Sarah Goss, Selica Winiata, Vaine Greig and Shakira Baker.
"It's been a dream," Hutana said.
"I always wanted to go far in rugby.
"I never thought I would be where I am today."
She said the people she has helping her are the reason she is where she is now.
Hutana debuted for New Zealand at the Oceania championships in Australia in October and was part of the Manawatu team that won their second national title in a row earlier this month.
"I was a bit nervous, but picking up a contract is quite an awesome feeling.
"It's in the sport that I've really wanted to go far in for some years now.
"The environment around women's sevens is really supportive."
Goss, Winiata and Baker also starred in the championship win, while Greig missed the tournament due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Greig played for New Zealand last year and is expected to be able to play again halfway through the year.
Hutana said having the Manawatu women in the New Zealand team make her job a lot easier and they all train together every day while they're at home.
She felt her own form had been all right even though she had a few things to work on, but it was hard to say what tournaments she will play in.
"I never know what to expect of myself. I just know I need to go out there and do my job, try hard and hopefully get a result."
The New Zealand squad have an assembly camp next week which doubles as selection for Atlanta and Sao Paulo.
For now Hutana will be "smashing it in the gym" before they play a feature game in Wellington during the men's leg of the world series in two weeks.
Now she's left school, Hutana plans to study a bachelor of sport and exercise at Massey University, which she will do part time so she can concentrate on her rugby.
- Manawatu Standard
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