We are thrilled to be supporting the Tania Dalton Foundation through the financial support of their scholarship programme. The Tania Dalton Foundation has been established to ensure Tania’s passion for sport and for helping others lives on. The Foundation aims to make a meaningful difference to young New Zealanders in the community. It supports young New Zealanders, from all circumstances and stages of development, to unlock their talent and be their best selves.

We support 2018 scholarship recipient and newly capped Black Ferns 7’s team member Dhys Faleafaga and are incredibly proud of her achievements to date. Dhys shares some insights of the scholarship programme below and gives us a taste of what it’s like to be part of a national team.

It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for me. During 2017 I was contacted by NZ Rugby and given the opportunity to make an application for a Tania Dalton Foundation scholarship. I feel really blessed to have been awarded a scholarship and I’m grateful for the support of Augusta. Being part of the first group of girls is pretty cool, it’s awesome that I’ve got to meet other like-minded young sportswomen from different sports. The financial support has been massive, and has helped fund my sporting pursuits.

We not only get financial support but also get together as a scholarship group about 3-4 times per year through personal development workshops. One of the workshops that has been a big help to me was about social media and your personal brand when using social media. That’s been so helpful now that I’ve come into the Black Ferns 7’s environment as I do use social media quite a lot and it’s made me think about being authentic when posting.

While I was still at school last year, I was shocked to be given a Black Ferns contract. This had been one of my goals and it was a big buzz to be named as a contracted player. It was a real juggle fitting in schoolwork and training. This transition made me become more independent and really start to work on time management skills.

Earlier this year I got called up to the Black Ferns 7’s team, this has meant that I’ve moved to Mount Maunganui as the 7’s programme is based at the Adams High Performance Centre at the Mount. I’m lucky that I have some extended family at the Mount and have been able to move in and live with them. With my move to the Mount the Tania Dalton Foundation paired me up with a new mentor. I have Ali Wieringa from netball as a person that I can touch base with and chat about any challenges that I’m dealing with and even just to talk about life outside of rugby.

My days are really full as we double train 5 days a week we have a field session in the morning, shower, eat and then head into the gym in the afternoon. It has been a steep learning curve adapting to how full on the training is. We have Thursdays off and have a day where we will have meetings or appointments with people like the physio or nutritionist. The load has made me aware of the importance of recovery, rehab and managing any injury niggles. I absolutely love the challenge and being part of the team and felt overwhelmed when I pulled on the jersey for my first official game in Tokyo in April.

I want to continue to train hard and have my sights set on being selected to go to the Olympics in 2020.

I’m taking a break from anything academic this year but would like to look at being able to combine some part time study with my training in the future. I would love to head to Police College one day and work out on the beat. In my down time I try to distract myself from anything rugby and spend time with my young cousins, listen to music and I love to relax by taking a walk on the beach.

It’s been a dream of mine to represent my country and I’m so happy to be living that dream.

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