Two Eastern girls rugby players have been chosen from 45 players for a Southland sevens side.
Lauryn Pickney and Dixie-Leigh Burr (both 14) were rapt to be two of the final 12 selected for the under-15 side.
“I’m super-stoked. It’s pretty exciting all that hard work paid off,” Dixie-Leigh said.
Lauryn said they had been training in Invercargill twice a week for the past six weeks “before the big cut”.
“It’s exciting,” she said.
The side is coached by Andrew Rowland, of Invercargill, and Krishanee Tamou and Nicole Kennedy, both of Gore.
It was the first time either girl would represent Southland in the sevens arena after adding it to their repertoire alongside 10s and 15s this season.
They would compete at the South Island sevens competition in Timaru this weekend, which included all age groups.
Dixie-Leigh played as a strike prop and Lauryn was a working prop.
Both were two of the three kickers involved in the team.
“Sevens is harder for fitness-wise,” Lauryn said.
“There’s less numbers on the pitch but you’re still playing on that same size field.”
Dixie said she had “been absolutely loving it”.
“I love this team of girls we’ve got.”
Making the step into sevens improved their knowledge of the game.
“We’ve learnt so much, we’ve learnt a bigger game and how to work with strength and conditioning physios,” Dixie said.
The opportunity to trial for the team came through their involvement with the Eastern Under-15 10s team.
They were also involved in a combined Eastern and James Hargest College 15s side.
Dixie started playing rugby when she was 4 years old through her father Richard’s encouragement.
She was instantly hooked and played for the Mataura Rugby Club before she reached high school.
Since then she has been selected for the Murihiku Maori rugby under-17 wahine 10s team, Te Waipounamu under-17 10’s team and Southland under-16 girls touch team.
Lauryn began when she was 7 years old, playing with the boys at school and then joined the Edendale Rugby Club.
She was selected for the Southland under-16 girls touch team as well.