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Pulse add Savai’inaea to roster

Pulse add Savai’inaea to roster

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have signed young defender Renee Savai’inaea for the 2018 ANZ Premiership.

The addition of the St Mary’s College sportswoman completes the 10-strong Pulse roster for 2018 which features four teenagers.

Savai’inaea, 17, (Ngāti Porou and Magiagi/Vailele in Samoa), who plays goal and wing defence, will join recent World Youth Cup goal medallists Tiana Metuarau (16), Aliyah Dunn (17), and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (19) in the Pulse line-up.

A NZU21 squad member and NZ Secondary School rep, Savai’inaea has a strong Netball pedigree but is also a dab hand at sevens, helping New Zealand win the World Youth Rugby Secondary Schools Sevens title in Japan earlier this year, and is a Wellington basketball representative.

A member of this year’s successful Central Beko Netball League team, which went through the season unbeaten, Savai’inaea is confident she can juggle the demands of school work with elite level Netball.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting this and I’m just really excited,” she said. “Now I just want to grow as a player, ask lots of questions and learn off experienced players like Katrina (Grant) and try and gain as much knowledge as possible.”

For Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie, the selection of Savai’inaea ensured the correct court balance was achieved. That includes players being able to play at least two positions while being given opportunities to grow and develop in other areas.

“Firstly, she’s quick and has the ability to use her speed to get turnover ball,” McCausland-Durie said.

“She has the ability to grow quickly and to learn.We saw this at Super Club when she was able to transfer from theory to practise really quickly.

“The other piece that she also does really well is that she’s got a very strong conditioning base so has a really high work rate whether it be from goal or wing defence.”

Deciding against signing an import for next season, McCausland-Durie has no concerns about the four youngsters she will have in the ranks.

“They are very talented players that have had the opportunity to be exposed to the rigours of a high performance environment from an early age,” she said.

“First and foremost, this decision allows us to grow our own players. Renee is born and bred in Wellington and has played all her netball through Wellington and that’s a really big part of who we are, to commit to growing our own people.

“It’s also a reflection of our commitment to growing players who can continue to step up, above this level and through to international. Picking players who have been nationally identified gives them and us an opportunity to continue to grow netball, not only for Central but for New Zealand.”

2018 Pulse team: Karin Burger, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Katrina Grant, Claire Kersten, Tiana Metuarau, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Renee Savai’inaea, Whitney Souness.