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Black Ferns Sevens Olympics star Ruby Tui signs for Chiefs women's side

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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The Chiefs have announced the signing of Black Ferns Sevens star Ruby Tui for the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki competition next year.

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Among the highest-profile women’s players on the planet, Tui joins the Chiefs with an array of credentials to her name, including a 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medal and a 2016 Rio Olympics silver medal.

The 29-year-old has also won World Sevens Series titles and the 2018 Sevens World Cup with the Black Ferns Sevens, and was crowned 2019 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year.

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Tui’s robust playing style, high work rate and leadership qualities have made her an indispensable player for New Zealand’s national sevens side, and is a key reason why the Chiefs were eager to sign her.

“It’s exciting to have Ruby as part of our Chiefs squad for 2022,” Chiefs women head coach Allan Bunting, who worked alongside Tui as Black Ferns Sevens coach, said.

“She walks the walk in all aspects of what it takes to be a professional sportsperson. She will have a massive influence within our squad both on and off the field and I do look forward to walking alongside her once again.”

Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins echoed Bunting’s sentiments as he outlined Tui’s off-field traits will be just as valuable as her playing ability.

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“Ruby is an exceptional athlete and has been an integral part of the Black Ferns Sevens squad. Her powerful running ability, commitment on defence and love for the game is outstanding,” Collins said.

“Off the field, her sharp and witty personality is contagious and we are excited for what that will bring.

“She will be an exciting player for our fans to watch and be entertained by and I can’t wait to see her take the field for the Chiefs Women in the upcoming Super Rugby Aupiki competition.”

Tui said he presence of Bunting on the franchise’s coaching staff, and Black Ferns skipper Les Elder in the playing squad, was a key reason behind her decision to join the Chiefs.

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She added that the first-ever women’s Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Chiefs at Eden Park earlier this year inspired her to be part of Super Rugby Aupiki.

“Watching that game earlier in the year and understanding how important culture is, especially with Allan Bunting at the helm, there’s just no way I could look past the Chiefs,” Tui said.

“They’re the whole package and the words ‘mana’ and ‘culture’ are super important to me and my rugby. To me the off-field is just important as the on-field and I think the Chiefs are probably leading that women’s space at the moment, so I’m so excited.”

Tui’s laidback nature and positive charisma has been well-documented in recent times as she went viral during the Olympics in July for her post-match interview with the BBC following New Zealand’s quarter-final win over the Russian Olympic Committee.

That happy-go-lucky approach off the park bodes well for Tui’s time at the Hamilton-based franchise, where she said the off-field culture played a significant role in her decision to sign with the Chiefs.

“Culture is huge for me, so the main attraction to the Chief was definitely their culture,” Tui said.

“I think the club has a huge amount of mana, I’ve played a lot of footy around the country, been involved in a lot of teams, even internationally but to me the Chiefs hold something really special. They don’t just talk it, they walk it.”

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