World Cup champion Selica Winiata was on hand at the AIMs Games today, to offer support to future rugby union players.

"For me, I want to try and inspire as many young girls, who want to play the game, as possible. That's so one day, they can be wearing that black jersey and representing New Zealand. For that to happen, I think it's so important for us to be out in the community and coming along to events like this.

"There is over 10,000 kids here, participating in 21 sports. To see the amount of girls teams here today is a wonderful thing. It's about getting out, letting them know who we are and hopefully inspiring them."

Ms Winiata is also on a mission - to teach young sportspeople how to look after their bodies while playing sport.


"If these guys can start getting into good habits now; warming up well, warming down and recovering well. Knowing what to put into their bodies to get the best result. That means, when they do reach that top level, it will just be normal for them."

Winiata spent an hour talking to rugby teams from across the country, offering advice to some of the young women playing rugby.

"It's just about getting out amongst both the boys and girls rugby teams that are here today, chilling out with them, asking any questions they might have, but again emphasising the importance of looking after your body. Warming up right and recovering well. Making sure they get good food in their bodies throughout the day, so they don't burn out."

Ms Winiata won the 2016 women's player of the year from New Zealand Rugby.

"That was a huge honour, not something I was expecting to receive. Leading into this year, it's been a big one for the Black Ferns with the World Cup in Ireland. Prior to that, having the June series on home soil, was very important to us. To have that, and then go over and win the cup, is a dream I've had since I was young. To achieve that, and bring it home to share it with young girls and boys who love the game is pretty special."

Ms Winiata says it was a wonderful opportunity to interact with young players - this, despite missing the memo about the playing surface.

Made with funding from