Schoolgirl’s pedigree shines at Rugby Tens
SCHOOLGIRL Alysia Fakaosilea has never met her big-name uncles Will Skelton and Mils Muliaina yet they must be finding out more every week about the prowess within one of the rising stars of women's rugby.
Remarkably, Fakaosilea spent the first half of last Friday at school at Canterbury College at Waterford, south of Brisbane, before rushing to Suncorp Stadium to give a lesson in tackling at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
The ponytailed youngster is only 17, Kiwi-born and not yet eligible to play rugby sevens for Australia at the Commonwealth Games in April even though she is being groomed in squads as an Aussie development player for the future.
Her elusive, powerful running first won her raves but it was a massive front-on hit on Friday for the Queensland women's team against the Brumbies which might just have been the tackle of the tournament from male or female.
In yesterday's win over the Melbourne Rebels, the Year 12 student pilfered one ball at the breakdown, threw a neat pass for Samantha Treherne's try and dashed 50m down the left touchline for a try to show her versatility.
The day-night format worked for her when Queensland's first game was at 4.11pm on Friday.
"I had a half-day of English and PE at school on Friday and then it was off to play," she said.
"I just like playing footy all the time and it really just started from mucking around at school in New Zealand when I was 14.
"I have to wait until next year for my Australian citizenship. It's really disappointing that means I'm not qualified for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but it just makes me want to work hard for my chance when it comes."
Former Wallaby lock Skelton and Muliaina, a revered 100-Test All Black, are uncles with a true rugby pedigree who will be taking notice.
"Hopefully... but I've never met them," she said while also revealing that Brumbies backrower Lolo Fakaosilea is a cousin.
Her role model is not among that trio because it's Olympic rugby sevens gold medallist Vani Pelite she admires most.
"She is a great utility player and I play the same position so she's my role model," Fakaosilea said.
The high-skill moments in the seven women's games at the Tens were excellent with some slick passing, running and structure. The launch of the inaugural Super W competition in March-April for 15-a-side teams will be a milestone but patience will be needed with so much of the talented concentrated in Queensland and NSW.
Women's rugby is on the up and the generous applause from the stands at Suncorp Stadium showed that the fans feel it too.
Fakaosilea was the game-breaker to win Saturday night's thrilling final in the second period of golden point extra time with a try after another rattling hit on NSW player Olivia Brooks had given Queensland a scrum feed on attack at 5-all.