Year 12 student Madisson Mataafa (pictured left on the left) has been selected for the 2020 NZR Barbarians/Blues Under 18 Development Squad.
The talented rugby player will now attend a 3-day camp during the school holidays, to showcase her abilities and further develop her skills on and off the field. The camp will include rugby development across the six pillars (Technical, Tactical, Nutrition, Physical, Mental and Personal Leadership), and exposure to Provincial Union, Blues and National Age Grade Selectors.
Madisson has been playing rugby for four years as Flanker, 8, 2nd Five and Centre. She currently plays for North Harbour, and has also played volleyball, ki o rahi, netball, touch and sevens. “I think one of my biggest achievements was starting women’s club rugby this year and playing against some of the biggest names in the sport. Another would be the opportunity I have to train with the Hibiscus Coast Farah Palmer Cup Squad, where I’m training with the likes of Pia Tapsell,” she says.
Her favourite aspect of the game is the camaraderie with other players. “I think off the field it’s the type of environment and vibes you get with the girls of every age. It’s more of a family-orientated thing, and no matter who you’re playing for, everyone’s supportive. On the field it’s the rush of adrenaline when you’re taking your first run and making your first tackle in the game.”
Madisson is excited about her Development Squad inclusion and has her eyes on an even bigger prize. “Half-way through my second year of rugby, each game I played became more competitive. In a way, I liked putting up more competition against the better teams, such as Long Bay. “I think after playing U18 for Harbour my ambition changed to wanting to play on a more professional platform.”