Two women's rugby sevens university teams will have the rare and exciting opportunity to play in alignment with the Hamilton Sevens World Series this weekend.
The finalists of the University Tertiary Sport New Zealand (UTSNZ) women's sevens tournament will play their finals match as an entertainment break during the HSBC New Zealand Sevens World Series.
UTSNZ Executive Director, Sarah Anderson, told the Herald that "it will be a fantastic chance to lift the standard of tertiary level sport".
"Alignment of this tournament with the HSBC Sevens weekend in Hamilton provides a fantastic opportunity for student athletes to gain a sense of pride in representing their universities, as well as creating a clear pathway for emerging and existing talent," she said.
"The collaborative partnership between UTSNZ, NZ Rugby and New Zealand's universities to provide this opportunity is a great example of organisations working together to achieve shared outcomes."
Head of Women's Rugby Developement, Cate Sexton, said it was a great oppurtunity to align key principles and philosophies between NZ Rugby and UTSNZ.
"We're creating an opportunity for women once they leave school which I think is a great positive thing for our women," Sexton said.
"I'm really excited to see how it goes running alongside an international sevens, there's vibe and there's interest and it's a really exciting environment to be part of."
Black Fern and Waikato University student, Stacey Waaka, will represent her university on Sunday, and said "it was very exciting to have UTSNZ as part of a World Series event".
"It's going to be a buzz! Obviously we all love watching the World Series and to be able to be part of it, it's like woah this is cool," Waaka said.
"To show the rest of the country that it can be aligned and show people that do attend that it can be played at a main event like that, I think it's just a really cool opportunity for new girls to come and be exposed to that kind of environment."
Sexton said the inter-tertiary tournament will also be used as an opportunity to identify new talent in women's rugby.
"Sevens selectors use this as a selection tool, as a scouting tool, to look at new talent they may have never seen, so it's really valuable for us," Sexton said.
"This is another rung in our pathway ladder and it's starting to get into that more performance pathway which is fantastic."
The women's sevens will be the first of eight National Tertiary Sport championships held across the country, and will be the first opportunity for universities to win points toward the prestigious 93-year-old National Tertiary Championship shield.
The UTSNZ finals match will be played at 3:45pm at the FMG stadium.