Olympic silver medalist and Auckland representative, SUGA Theresa Fitzpatrick’s career has culminated into a Black Ferns Sevens contract. Throughout the duration of the National Sevens tournament, the Black Ferns Sevens saw an additional eight contracted players to their squad, Fitzpatrick being one of them.
“It’s always an honour to be able to represent my country in a sport I love to play. So when I got called to say that I had received a contract for 2017, I was quite overwhelmed and extremely grateful to be given another opportunity to play this year,” she said.
The 21-year-old Samoan-Kiwi started playing rugby union at a young age and began making her impact at Ponsonby Rugby Club climbing up the ranks through the Auckland Rugby pathway. During high school, Fitzpatrick took a break from rugby union until the ‘Go 4 Gold programme’ was launched and Rugby Sevens was announced as an Olympic sport.
“I joined the Auckland Sevens programme in 2013 and that is when my love for the game started – from representing Auckland at the beginning of 2016, I was lucky to get a call up into the New Zealand Women’s Team and played in three of the World Series Tournaments.
“After numerous training camps, the Olympic team was chosen and that was probably the highlight of my sporting career.”
She put her medical studies on hold to have a shot in Rio, a decision she is happy she made. She reﬂects upon the Olympics saying it was a truly unforgettable experience.
“We were surrounded by the most elite athletes in the world. To compete in the same event as the likes of Usain Bolt and Roger Federer and being in the same team as Eric Murray, Hamish Bond and Valerie Adams to name a few was very surreal.”
The Black Ferns Sevens team has a World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series which they compete in annually with five tournaments in Dubai, Sydney, Las Vegas, Victoria and Clermont Ferrand this year. While being selected as part of the training squads, teams will be selected for each of these tournaments.
Fitzpatrick confesses that she has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and that this year will consist of “a whole lot of running, 80/60/40’s, many broncos and a lot of chocolate chip cookies!”
She explains that the team will be training six days a week and up to three times a day undergoing strength, conditioning, skills, recovery and treatment blocks.
“It is very important that we eat right in order for our bodies to recover and perform at the level we need. The training schedule is quite hectic so it is really important that I manage my time wisely meaning I spend time with family and friends whenever I have time to.” Her ‘family’ includes her famous sister former Silver Fern and Samoan Sevens player Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick.
The Black Ferns Sevens squad also includes six other Samoan SUGAs worth congratulating and mentioning: Ruby Tui, Niall Williams, Alena Saili, Shakira Baker, Lyric Faleafaga and Rebekah Cordero-Tufuga.
-Written by Savannah Tafau-Levy