Less than two weeks after winning the Rugby World Cup, Sarah Hirini is back on the Sevens circuit but she’s not ruling out another campaign in the 15-a-side code.
Hirini was on hand in Waikato today alongside Alena Saili to promote the return of the Sevens World Series to Hamilton in two months’ time having finished her commitments with the Black Ferns.
It continues a mindboggling year for Hirini, who also attended the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup in the shorter format before turning her attention to the Rugby World Cup.
“It was funny, we got told we wouldn't do three pinnacle events this year and we did,” Hirini said, referencing herself along with Portia Woodman, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Stacey Fluhler.
“We've done it a couple of times - would be cool to do it again.”
Hirini conceded part of her doesn’t want the double-up to happen again though.
“Half of me hopes you can’t because of the structures put in place with the Black Ferns are so high, they've got who they need but the other half [of me] being a sevens player is like, ‘hmmm, it would be cool’.
“I’m not sure, maybe a couple of freak young players will do both because they're really good.”
Hirini’s admission comes just days after she was the big omission from Super Rugby Aupiki squad announcements – a tough decision she said came down to her wanting to focus on Paris instead.
“I really love representing the Hurricanes, I’m Hurricanes born and bred but I knew transitioning back to sevens and again next year would be difficult and it’s an Olympic qualifying year so it’s important for us,” she said.
“But hopefully one day when I’m finished with sevens I’ll go back to the Hurricanes and see how we go.”
In the meantime though, Hirini has set a new goal to make her sevens return in Hamilton and get the campaign started strong for Olympic qualifying.
“To me, the bigger the game the better. I love high pressure situations and knowing we need top four of the world series to qualify - which is bloody hard at the moment - is going to be a big challenge but I’m really looking forward to it.”
She's also looking forward to linking back up with her Sevens Sisters – including the newer members.
“It’s been awesome having the young ones come in,” she said.
“Seeing them on the World Series, it creates more competition for the group and trainings get harder which isn’t always fun but it creates competition in the group.
“We'll have everyone available for Hamilton which is exciting and it gets harder as you get older but I love it. I love having the competition against the young girls and when you beat them you remind them of it for the next week and a half!”
And at 29 years young, there's no sign of Hirini slowing down any time soon.