With the conclusion of the New Zealand Rugby and Red Bull sponsored 'Ignite7' sevens rugby camp, two rising Northland stars are walking away with a renewed passion for the game.

Four women and four men from Northland took part on the four day, 96-player camp where they were split into teams to go through two days of training and education, a skills testing day and a series of games on Saturday.

Rodney College student Georgia Brierly, 16, a relatively new sevens player, said her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn made up for any lack of experience.

"I've only played rugby for a year but it was definitely such an amazing experience and I came away from it blown away.


"My favourite thing was having two knowledgeable and talented coaches and playing alongside talented players helping me grow in the sport and learn a lot of things."

Selected for the programme based on her success in athletics, Brierly said she soon learned the benefit of being coached by Black Ferns legend Anna Richards.

"I didn't know how amazing she was until I searched her on the internet and then I realised. She was such a good coach and was really good with me as one of the youngest and just sharing knowledge and helping me."

Brierly's fitness shone through on the testing day as she was 8th of the 48 women in camp - second on the gruelling Bronco test and third in the squat jump test.

At the end of the camp, three women and three men were selected to train with the men's and women's national sevens teams. Brierly said even though she wasn't selected, she was confident in her ability.

"I almost knew going in that I wasn't going to be one of the players selected because of my age and level of experience but it was cool all the same.

"The coaches told me 'NZ Rugby knows who you are and were talking to us about you' so I was quite stoked with that."

Northland's Keepa Wiki had a markedly different experience to Brierly as he missed three of the four days due to illness, but still felt he had left a good impression.


"I was out sick with stomach bug which put me out of action until the final games day on Saturday but it was a good opportunity to put myself on the radar which I I thought I did."

The 20-year-old timber mill worker said he learned a lot about the level of professionalism needed to compete at the top level.

"It was quite scary at first because you see how you have to be wary about everything that you do, especially off the field, like what you wear and what you put on social media."

He said there was a strong bond between his teammates despite the limited time they'd had together which he would carry through with him into future sevens tournaments.

While he was disappointed he wasn't one of the six players selected, Wiki remained confident in his dream of playing on the world stage.

"My goal has always been to get to All Blacks Sevens and this was a really good opportunity to help me with that."