Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Rio Olympics 2016: McAlister family united in pride for Kayla's silver sevens effort

New Zealand's Kayla McAlister, front, tackled by France's Caroline Ladagnous, during the women's rugby sevens match at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Kayla McAlister, front, tackled by France's Caroline Ladagnous, during the women's rugby sevens match at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo / AP

A love for rugby runs deep in the McAlister family, and despite falling short in her quest for a gold medal Kayla McAlister's dad Charlie couldn't be prouder.

The women's sevens were pipped in the final by Australia 24-17, picking up New Zealand's second silver medal of the Rio Olympics.

Charlie McAlister watched the game in Auckland, and paid tribute to the sacrifices each player in the squad had to make.

"I'm absolutely proud, and have been right from the start. I just wish the ref knew the rules," he said.

"They actually played awesome that game. I thought that was the best game they've played together as a team all year, that's how good they played today."

McAlister said the end of the Olympic campaign would mean the squad could now spend some time enjoying the atmosphere in Rio.

"At that level the sacrifice the players have made across the board, and the discipline they've shown has been outstanding... I don't think they'll be that disciplined tonight though for some reason."

The medal caps off a year of success for the McAlister clan, as earlier in the year Charlie coached Suburbs to Auckland club rugby supremacy, winning the Gallaher Shield.

"We all make sacrifices and our goal is always to try and make other people reach their potential, as a coach and a player."

Kayla's brother, former All Black Luke, didn't let being based in Toulouse in the south of France stop him from pestering his dad for constant updates.

"I was hearing from him 24/7 mate, he's painful, he was asking heaps of questions and I'm trying to watch the game," Charlie said.

"They talk all the time those two, he's extremely proud of her and her of him.

"We have ups and downs being the parents of two children who are borth elite talents, but we're proud of both kids across the board."

In addition to supportive parents, members of the team also received encouragement from their children, with Niall Williams' daughters Tatum-Lee and Rema-Rae showing their support for "Team Williams", with both mum and uncle Sonny Bill playing sevens for New Zealand in Rio.

G A M E D A Y MY NUMBER 1 SUPPORTERS TATUM-LEE & REMA-RAE

A photo posted by Niall Williams (@niall_williams13) on

- NZ Herald

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