Sarah Hirini, captain of the Black Ferns Sevens rugby team, is a true leader in women’s sport. She also embodies the ‘Born To Dare’ spirit of the Tudor campaign, which celebrates the adventures of individuals who have achieved the extraordinary
It was a bittersweet moment for Sarah Hirini when she led her team, the Black Ferns Sevens to victory when they beat France 26–12 in the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year. Considered one of the most influential players on the pitch, Hirini dedicated her win to her mother who passed away only a few months before the games.
“There’s so much going through my mind. I’m just so happy. I love you, mum, I love you so much, that one was for you, and I am just so grateful to be part of the best team in the world,” she was quoted as saying in Stuff — a New Zealand news website — right after her win in Tokyo in July.
So who is Sarah Hirini? She is of Ngãti Kahungunu (a Mao- ri iwi or nation, from the eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand) descent, and
is passionate about inspiring young people to excel through her work in women’s rugby and the growth of women’s sport. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, is a player representative on the New Zealand Rugby Players Association Board. Hirini is one of the most well-respected and feared players in international rugby.
As captain of the Black Ferns Sevens team, she has built a reputation as an outstanding leader, hard-working and humble individual. Since becoming one of the first New Zealand Rugby contracted professional female players in 2013, Hirini’s career has gone from strength to strength, resulting in numerous accolades and awards.
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The recent Olympics in Tokyo was not the first time she led her team to victory, Hirini also captained New Zealand to a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She briefly switched to 15-player team
in 2017 and played a key role in New Zealand winning the World Cup in Ireland, before guiding the Black Ferns Sevens to an outstanding double — the gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the Sevens World Cup in San Fran- cisco just three months later.
In 2019, she became the first player on the women’s World Sevens Series to play 200 matches and was the first woman to win the Tom French Memorial Maori player of the year at the New Zealand Rugby awards. Hirini’s standing at the top of the game has also been recognised as four-time nominee for World Rugby’s Sevens player of the year. Sarah was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby, in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
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A fearless competitor, she has always pushed the boundaries of her sport and will continue to do so in 2022, where she aims to compete at both Rugby World Cup Sevens and Rugby World Cup. Away from the sporting field, Sarah pursues her passion for inspiring young people to excel as she works tirelessly to support the next generation.
An exciting future lies ahead for the Black Ferns XVs and Sevens teams, made up of New Zealand’s premier and elite female players. The next 18 months will see the teams competing on the world stage in both formats of rugby as they continue on their journey to greatness.
Recognising the uncompromising spirit and bold nature of the sport, Tudor has decided to partner with World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby through the All Blacks and Black Ferns XVs and Sevens teams. As rugby continues to grow globally and with 2.7 million women and girls now playing the sport, Tudor will be celebrating the daring nature of the world’s best female players, highlighting the dedication and commitment that allows them to prosper both on and off the field of play.
Hirini is now part of that elite team that Tudor has built. When not training or playing competitively, Hirini can be seen hitting the waves indulging in her other favourite sport, surfing. She also loves hitting the great outdoors with husband Conor Hirini and their dog Booker. Hirini tackles the questions Options asked her via email.
Recognising the uncompromising spirit and bold nature of the sport, Tudor has decided to partner with World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby through the All Blacks and Black Ferns XVs and Sevens teams
Why did you choose rugby?
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I play rugby because I love the game, but also because of the people I’ve been able to meet and who’ve become pretty much family.
What did you look for when you agreed to become a Tudor brand ambassador?
For me, when I partner with a brand, it’s really important they have the same values as I do. With Tudor, it was also the opportunity of working with them to help grow the women’s game around the world. I’d seen the support they were already providing the game and I wanted to be a part of that.
What is it about the Tudor brand that resonates with you?
Tudor’s daring attitude and spirit and their focus on high performance and supporting the women’s game.
What does the term ‘Born to Dare’ mean to you?
Born to Dare to me means having a daring spirit, taking those opportunities and not being afraid to go outside the norms when you believe in something.
How are you going to use your fan base and Tudor’s platform to be a role model?
Tudor believes in and supports the women’s game. I’m looking forward to working alongside Tudor to develop and grow the game globally.
Since you started playing rugby professionally there have been younger girls who look up to you, what are some of the messages you want to tell them?
I want them to just give it a go. When you’re passionate about something and put effort into it, magical things can happen. Being happy in everything that they do is also so important.
Which one (or more) of Tudor’s collection is your favourite and why?
The new Black Bay Ceramic is a favourite of mine. It is a beautiful black design with a high-performance movement that works for casual or for- mal occasions. I love its natural versatility and robustness, and it allows me to enjoy my lifestyle by the beach and out surfing.
Just as you have looked up to those women trailblazers who went before you. Can you share who are some of your role models?
Black Ferns legend and veteran Farah Palmer was always someone I looked up to ever since I first began playing rugby. Her values and leadership style were inspirational along with her mana on and off the field. My sister is also a big inspiration to me. She plays in the National provincial competition for her local Manawatú region, training before and after work while also raising two young children.
What do awards and accolades mean to you?
It’s always special to receive recognition for the work done on and off the field, but my successes are also my teammates and management. We all work together to achieve these results and without them I couldn’t do what I do.
What was your childhood like? How did it shape the person you are today?
My childhood was amazing spent on the farm with my Mum, Dad and siblings. We were always busy but we had the freedom to roam the hills, ride horses and motorbikes so I’m very thankful for that.
What would you say to the young men and women who are looking to play rugby professionally?
Have fun and enjoy the journey, it goes so quickly, you don’t want to miss anything along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask heaps of questions, it’s so important when you don’t know the answer.
What is 2022 looking like for you?
2022 is going to be a big year for women’s rugby and a really exciting one. We have pinnacle events on the sporting calendar: Two Rugby World Cups supported by Tudor (Rugby World Cup Sevens and Rugby World Cup XV) and the Commonwealth Games that will be played alongside the World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Rugby World Cup XV is being hosted for the first time at home on New Zealand soil which is really exciting to be able to play in front of our family and friends and have the support of New Zealand.
The All Black
In one of Sarah Hirini’s Instagram posts, she writes: “In love with my new Black Bay Ceramic. We can see why as the Black Bay Ceramic shows
Tudor’s expert command of one of the industry’s most de- manding standards in terms of chronometry and resistance to magnetic fields.”
Tested by the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), this Black Bay model is the epitome of style meeting function with its matt black ceramic elements and black Manufacture Calibre that accentuate the Black Bay Ceramic’s outstanding performance.
The Black Bay Ceramic model has undergone numerous tests to obtain a Master Chronometer certification that requires a substantial number of changes to the Tudor Manufacture Calibre. This means that Tudor will be able to offer accreditation by an independent body, confirming the excellent quality of its watches.
Powering the Black Bay Ceramic is the Calibre MT5602-1U that displays hour, minute and seconds functions. It has the finish typical of Tudor Manufacture Calibres but this time it is entirely in black, in line with the general appearance of the watch. Another feature to note is the “weekend-proof” function, this enables the wearer to take the watch off on a Friday evening and put it back on again on Monday morning without having to wind it.
Like other models in the Black Bay range, the Ceramic is recognisable through Tudor’s characteristic angular hands known as “Snowflake” that appeared in the brand’s 1969 catalogue.
Here’s the tech spec of the watch at a glance:
41 mm matt black ceramic case with micro-blasted finish and monobloc middle case
Open case back in black-PVD-treated 316L steel with sapphire crystal
Unidirectional rotatable bezel in black-PVD-treated 316L steel with 60-minute graduated disc in black ceramic with sunray satin finish and engraved markings and numerals
Screw-down winding crown in black-PVD-treated 316L steel, with the Tudor rose in relief and circular satin-brushed steel winding crown tube
Domed sapphire crystal
Waterproof to 200 m (660 ft)
Hybrid leather and rubber strap with 316L steel folding clasp and safety catch in black PVD-treated 316L steel
Additional black fabric strap with cream band and black PVD-treated 316L steel buckle, included in the box
Manufacture Calibre MT5602-1U
Self-winding mechanical movement with bidirectional rotor system
Certified 70 hours by METAS
Swiss chronometer officially certified by COSC
(Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute)
Master Chronometer Certification from METAS
Centre hour, minute and seconds hands
Stop-seconds for precise time setting
Variable inertia balance, micro-adjustment by screw
Non-magnetic silicon balance spring
Frequency: 28 800 beats/hour (4 Hz)