Will you be a champion for women's rugby?

Champions poets
  • Four Papakura High School students Umisuma (Rosaline) Petelo, Pauline Kaulave, Ilhaam Sheik Freed and Mercy Lauesi have authored the rousing spoken word poem featured in Rugby World Cup 2021’s latest video


  • Video premiered to Black Ferns ahead of Pacific Four Series victory versus Canada


  • Video launches Champions ambassador programme involving high profile celebrities, sports stars, change-makers and community leaders who are voicing their support for Rugby World Cup 2021


  • Video, produced by Whisper, features familiar faces Sean Fitzpatrick, Dave ‘Buttabean’ Letele, K’Lee McNabb, Anna Richards and Scotty Stevenson, among other influential fans of women’s rugby


  • Rugby World Cup 2021 team and venue ticket packs are available here, with individual tickets going on general sale 30 June


Young female poets from Papakura High School are the creative minds behind a powerful spoken word poem sending chills down the spines of the world’s best women’s rugby players ahead of Rugby World Cup 2021.


The four young performers, Umisuma (Rosaline) Petelo, Pauline Kaulave, Ilhaam Sheik Freed and Mercy Lauesi, have penned the poem that features in Rugby World Cup 2021’s latest video to launch its Champions ambassador programme, aimed at inspiring people to get behind the tournament and supercharge the women’s game.



The biggest global women’s 15s rugby tournament, Rugby World Cup 2021 will take place in Aotearoa, New Zealand from 8 October to 12 November - the first time ever it has been staged in the Southern Hemisphere.


New Zealand’s five-time Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns are preparing to defend their title against 11 other teams for the first time in front of a home crowd and what are hoped to be sold-out stadiums at Eden Park, Waitākere Stadium and Northland Events Centre.


Themes of empowerment, resilience, defiance and legacy are echoed throughout the Champions video which was shared for the first time with the Black Ferns ahead of their Pacific Four Series victory versus Canada at Waitākere Stadium.


The Champions programme has already seen a diverse group of celebrities, sports stars, change-makers and community leaders jump aboard the Rugby World Cup 2021 waka with the intention of promoting the tournament to new and existing rugby fans and to share the importance of valuing and celebrating women’s sport.


Three-time Rugby World Cup winner and former Black Ferns captain Dr. Farah Palmer leads a continuously growing group to voice their support for the programme including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, four-time Olympian Beatrice Faumuina, broadcaster Jay Reeve, radio host K’Lee McNabb, content creator Logan Dodds, Olympic great Lisa Carrington, Kiwi entrepreneur Anna Mowbray and boxer turned social impact leader Dave ‘Buttabean’ Letele.


Speaking at the premier of the video, Mai FM radio host and Rugby World Cup 2021 Champion K’Lee McNabb said, “These brave young wāhine toa have shown us the power in words and that when we trust and support our up and coming creators, they thrive.


“What they have produced is truly moving and I am honoured to have been a part of their journey and to support the women’s Rugby World Cup kaupapa.”


The release of the video marks the official launch of the Champions programme and sends a compelling message encouraging viewers to attend Rugby World Cup 2021 - not only for the chance to see the best in international rugby, but to demonstrate to the world that New Zealanders value and celebrate the women’s game.


Shot and produced by Whisper, the video features iconic locations throughout Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and those of significance to women in rugby, including Eden Park, Takapuna beach, and The People Weaver – Hineteiwaiwa mural by Bobby MacDonald and Ngā Atua Hou in Onehunga.



Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director, Michelle Hooper said, “The four young women from Papakura High School have captured the essence and spirit of women’s rugby in such a dynamic and poignant way. Their poem is the embodiment of everything we are working to achieve with this tournament in terms of inspiring Aotearoa and leaving a legacy for women and girls who play rugby in the Pacific. We took a leap of faith and trusted the story-telling voice of our youth to deliver and deliver they did. We are delighted with what has been created, the video will inspire all who watch it, to show their support for our wāhine competing in Rugby World Cup 2021 and those playing rugby in every corner of the world, this is for you.”


Tournament organisers are targeting a world record attendance for a women’s Rugby World Cup game at opening match day at Eden Park on 8 October where the Black Ferns will take on Australia as part of a triple-header featuring South Africa versus France and Fiji versus England. Eden Park will then create history by becoming the first stadium to host both the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup finals on Saturday 12 November.


For more information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.rugbyworldcup.com/2021.


Champions featured in the video are as follows:

  • Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tapua’i
  • William Fepulea’i Tapua’i
  • Gyllian Taei
  • Sean Fitzpatrick
  • Katelyn Vahaakolo
  • Dave Letele
  • K’Lee McNabb
  • Christian Baledrokadroka
  • Veronika Troon-Smith
  • Maia Marshall-Amai
  • Anna Richards
  • Scotty Stevenson



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