Black Ferns Sevens’ Ruby Tui blazing a trail for women in sports broadcasting.

By Machuki Sundaa

Black Ferns sevens forward Ruby Tui has taken up a role at Sky Sports as a commentator, which she will perform in tandem with her role in the playing squad.

Tui, who has a media and communications degree, aims to use the platform to advocate for elite sportswomen to enjoy parallel careers.

The 27-year-old for whom talking comes to naturally believes that off-field personal development makes one a better player.

Tui has been recruited together with former Black Fern star Honey Hireme, who now plays for the Warriors in the NRL Women’s premiership.

Speaking to Newsroom Tui said: “I think it’s really important that Honey and I get this relationship right. Not just for us but for future sportswomen.

“We’re trying to move things forward for female rugby players and for other sportswomen who can give their insight into what they do – insights that we just don’t hear enough of. We will be the first of many, I believe.

“I believe 100 per cent that your personal development off the field makes you a better player. People can sometimes put all their eggs in the footie basket, but you’ve got to be challenged off the field for your mental health and to grow completely.”

Tui spoke to Newsroom about nerves before going on air and she was quoted as saying: “But that’s one of the cool things I can bring from the rugby field. Nerves are a natural part of anything to do with pressure, but it’s how you manipulate those nerves and train your brain to treat it like excitement and hype that gets you up.

“I’m paid to deal with that on the rugby field, and it’s a little less physical on camera, so it shouldn’t be too bad. I don’t have to go out and tackle or fend someone else. I just have to talk about my favourite thing in the whole world.”

As preseason training with the squad comes up in just over a week with the women’s 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series commencing in October, Tui is well aware that she will have to toughen up.

“My rugby is still my absolute priority,”she said to Newsroom. “But SKY is letting me go forward and give this duality a crack.

“It’s a really exciting first step in the right direction in terms of getting an insight into the life of the Black Ferns – and being able to talk to the rest of New Zealand, and the world about it.”

The recruitment of women in sport into SKY Sport’ is the brainchild of the new chief executive Martin Stewart with a view to give them a viable career option after retirement.

“We’re looking to bring in female athletes who are training and playing now, and give them jobs which will allow them to do things with us – but work in a flexible way that also allows them to train,” he said to Newsroom. “Hopefully it will lead them into a career when their playing days end.”

Main photo courtesy: Twitter

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