The New Zealand Black Ferns get their Women’s Rugby World Cup under way today at Billings Park but there was time for one final stop out at Westmanstown Rugby Club yesterday to play their part in the AIG Heroes programme and get to meet and inspire girls from the local club.
“The girls were coming back from holidays to be here for this,” said Chairman John Hester speaking to Sport for Business. “Parents were telling me that their daughtesr couldn’t sleep the night before for the excitement of getting to be coached by the stars of New Zealand.
“We’ve been having a wonderful time since we arrived,” said Elouise Blackwell. “The accomodation out at UCD is top class, we each have our own rooms and a common area for hooking up with team mates away from the pitch sessions and the food has been great.”
“We are ready to perform now with Wales first up and we are happy with the preparation coming into the tournament.”
Ireland’s defeat of the Black Ferns at the 2014 World Cup in France was a major trigger for the growth and strength of the sport here and will also have been a factor in Ireland’s bid to host the tournament in Dublin and Belfast over the coming weeks.
“That hurt alright but if some good came from the game then that’s OK and we did gain a measure of redemption last Autumn,” said Blackwell with only a hint of a smile.
The session with the players was followed up by a packed question and answer session with the players and the presentation of a cheque for $5,000 by AIG Ireland General Managher Declan O’Rourke as part of an AIG Global initiative to help clubs.
That’s the inspiration of being coached by world class sports stars and the foundation on which to build out the strong work that is already underway with regards to Women’s Rugby in West Dublin.
Sport for Business will shortly be announcing details of a new initiative, backed by AIG looking to forge constructive links between women in business and women in sport.