If there were any lingering doubts about whether the Black Ferns are the best sevens team in the world, they slammed the door on that conversation by winning the Olympic gold medal
We are a rugby nation, and our men and women continue to be the world trail blazers. I'm more excited than ever about the thousands of young girls who sat in front of their TVs watching the final, wanting to be the next Ruby, or Portia, Tyla or Stacey.
The effects of this Olympic gold medal will be felt for years to come.
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Going into the Olympics, the Black Ferns had ticked almost every box in becoming world series winners, World Cup winners, world team of the year and Commonwealth Games champions.
But the sevens have been fretting for five years over that one missing piece - the Olympic gold medal - after the Rio disappointment.
Our wahine toa brought the nation to tears at the final whistle of the Olympic final in Japan, having beaten France by 26 – 12.
They dominated the Olympic tournament from the outset but were pushed and probed by the other challengers, some to the last moments of the game. They even needed golden score/extra time to beat our Pacific sisters Fiji in the semifinal.
The Black Ferns have rebuilt over the past five years, individually and collectively, under the guidance of Allan Bunting and Corey Sweeny. Their culture emphasised three main things - whānau, mana & love.
They operate as a whānau, an unbreakable sisterhood. They have done everything both on and off the field with integrity, pride and honesty. They chanted 'Mana' in every halftime team circle. Love drove them to work relentlessly for each other, for the game, and for themselves.
The have lived side by side, working their butts off, challenging each other, holding each other accountable, holding each other up, overcoming adversity, experiencing personal losses, battling through injuries and wiping each other's tears.
There have been child births, weddings, lots of laughs and so much more over the five years. They have continued to chip away, all the way to the precious gold medal.
Our flag bearer, captain, and the most outstanding leader I've ever had the pleasure to play alongside, Sarah Hirini (Gossy), stood up at critical moments. She empowered her sisters to get the job done.
Her battle scars visible and with only 60 per cent vision because of swelling around her right eye, Sarah's tears of joy poured out as the realisation set in the Olympic gold medal was won.
In her post match speech, she credited the medal to her mum, Ronnie Goss, who passed away earlier this year. Through her grief she continued to lead her Black Fern sisters with an unwavering belief that they would prevail.
It is at these times we should also remember past players who have paved the way, and acknowledge their contribution.
And all 21 players in the Black Ferns sevens squad have done their whanau, friends, community and our nation proud. They are all exceptional role models for all our tamariki and rangatahi.
Me aro ki te haa me hine ahu one - pay heed to the mana of women