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More than a game: All Blacks Sevens star’s class act for two young fans

By Finn Morton
Tone Ng Shiu #3 of New Zealand runs with the ball for a try against the United States in the men's cup quarterfinal match during day two of the HSBC SVNS Singapore at the National Stadium on May 04, 2024 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Black Ferns Sevens star Shiray Kaka made a young fan’s day last month with a gesture that was never intended to make headlines. After winning the Cup final at the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens, Kaka threw her winners up to a supporter.

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Kaka, who was recognised as the tournament’s best and fairest after beating the United States of America in that decider, had agreed with the child that if they caught the medal then it was theirs to keep.

The kid wearing an Australia jersey held onto the winner’s medallion and presumably took it home. It was an incredible gesture from the Olympic gold medallist but one that was never supposed to receive public attention.

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“How did you hear that,” Kaka asked this reporter when questioned about the moment. New Zealand’s Kelsey Teneti had done something similar after winning the Los Angeles final earlier in the season, according to someone on Facebook.

All Blacks Sevens ace Tone Ng Shiu is the latest Kiwi to give back to SVNS fans with a meaningful gesture, and then remain humble when asked about the moment later on. Supporters often ask for selfies or autographs but Ng Shiu went above and beyond for two kids.

“There were two kids begging to get their two jerseys signed from the boys so we made an effort to bring the jersey back and try and give it back to the kids,” Ng Shiu told RugbyPass.

“Just a little something to remember because when we were young we looked up to a lot of people so hopefully it made their day, their weekend.”

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Ng Shiu ran past this writer with jerseys in hand on day two in Singapore. The New Zealander had the shirts signed by the squad before returning back to the stands at the National Stadium.

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While Ng Shiu couldn’t find the kids himself, staff at SVNS Singapore later identified the kids and returned the shirts which were now covered in signatures from their rugby heroes.

But much like Kaka’s moment of generosity at Hong Kong Stadium, Ng Shiu didn’t hype up the class act too much when asked about it but rather spoke about the importance of giving back and the meaning behind it.

“It’s kind of our motto, ‘inspiring by how we see, hear and feel.’ Just making a big impact on the younger generation,” Ng Shiu added. “Just keep growing sevens and making sure that we are a good influence for the next generation.”

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Ng Shiu is a class act both off and on the field with the New Zealander playing a starring role in the All Blacks Sevens’ second consecutive Cup final triumph of the season. After winning the Hong Kong Sevens, the Kiwis backed that effort up in Singapore.

The All Blacks Sevens overcame a tough quarter-final challenge on Saturday by beating the USA and continued to grow in confidence and skill across the weekend. New Zealand put in a masterful performance against rivals Australia in the semis.

It was all building to the final match of the tournament with the Kiwis coming up against the fighting Irish in the decider. Ireland had beaten the All Blacks Sevens for the first time on the Series back in December’s SVNS Cape Town.

Leroy Carter, Fehi Fineanganofo and Dylan Collier all got on the scoresheet to help build a slender lead, and the men in black were good enough to survive a last-ditch effort to steal it from the Irish.

Ireland were awarded an attacking scrum with about 30 seconds to play, and while they risked breaking the line a couple of times, a penalty at the breakdown in favour of the Kiwis was the final say.

Andrew Knewstubb kicked off the celebrations by booting the ball high into the stands.

“Me and my mate Andrew Knewstubb, we’re sick of sitting home and watching all the boys win so when we came back we made it a goal for ourselves to make sure that we didn’t do all that hard work for nothing,” New Zealand’s Tone Ng Shiu told this website.

“It’s good to be winning and to be with the boys. It’s so good.

“We just focus on ourselves, you know? The here and now,” he added.

“We won Singapore. Obviously, we’ll acknowledge (League winners Argentina) because they’ve been the most consistent in the Series but we’re just enjoying the moment.”

Catch up on all the latest SVNS Series action from the 2023/24 season on RugbyPass TV. SVNS Singapore is free to watch, all you need to do is sign up HERE.

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