The French women's national rugby sevens development squad has gone back to school in Marton to train and learn the Kiwi Way.
The 14-strong playing squad are essentially the ladies in waiting for the main French team who are the 2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens champions and the same side that finished second to the Black Ferns in the Hamilton leg of the 2020 world series a fortnight ago.
The squad is accompanied by a coach, manager, doctor and physio.
During its two-week New Zealand visit the development squad is staying and training at Huntley School in Marton, a school that prides itself in academic and sporting achievement.
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Fresh from a six-match series of friendly games against the New Zealand women's development team in Tauranga that ended in a 3-all draw, the French women arrived at Huntley on Monday and end their stay on Wednesday.
The visit came about through Frenchman Maxime Ramiroz who is engaged to a Huntley school teacher.
Huntley headmaster Sam Edwards said Ramiroz, a former Wellington College 1st XV coach, had strong links with the development team coach and former national sevens player Clemence Gueucier and manager Anais Lagougine.
"We were happy to host the squad and help show them the Kiwi way," Edwards said.
"The girls are sharing experiences with our students and even helping teach them the language. Huntley is one of the few primary schools that have languages, including French, on the curriculum."
Gueucier and Ramiroz know each other after completing their top level coaching qualifications at the Le Centre national du rugby in Linas-Marcoussis at the same time.
Ramiroz has also spent time at Racing 92, the club that All Black great Dan Carter and a host of other top level rugby players have represented.
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"I was involved with some of the age group teams and certainly not connected with the top team with players like Dan Carter," Ramiroz said.
"I knew Clemence and Anais and gave them a call to offer them the facilities at Huntley during their New Zealand visit and I think they and the students have enjoyed each other's company.
"Four or five of this squad are professionals and have played for the main French women's sevens team, while the remainder have their own careers outside rugby. One is a school leaver and another is a teacher.
"Some are on the way up and some are returning from injury.
"They finished the six-match series of friendly games with the New Zealand development team with a 3-all draw so that's not a bad result. In the meantime they are enjoying their time sharing experiences with the kids and they even had a friendly game of touch with the Year 8 boarders.
"Later they will learn a little about cricket and netball from the kids - these are not popular games at all back home. They have also seen sheep shearing and dog trialling first hand. After their two weeks in New Zealand they will spend a week in Australia before returning home," Ramiroz said.
Meanwhile, the Frenchman is in training for an upcoming triathlon and is keen to return to play rugby again himself and may join the Marton Rugby and Sports Club.