The Black Ferns star is one of the fastest in the game

Who is Michaela Blyde: Ten things you should know about the New Zealand Sevens back

Michaela Blyde is among the fastest rugby players in the world.

The New Zealand back has lit up the sevens circuit with her devastating pace, and her journey to the top was similarly swift.

Ten things you should know about Michaela Blyde

1. Michaela Blyde was born on 29 December 1995 in New Plymouth, a city on the west coast of New Zealand’s north island. Her mother, Cherry, was part of the first official New Zealand women’s national rugby team in 1992.

2. Blyde was picked up by New Zealand Rugby’s ‘Go for Gold’ initiative ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and made her international sevens debut at the 2013 Oceania Championships, aged just 17.

3. However, she only made it to Rio as a travelling reserve, staying outside the Olympic village and watching on as Australia beat the Black Ferns in the gold medal game.

4. Blyde responded to Olympic disappointment in style. Despite starting the 2016/17 Women’s World Sevens Series without a contract beyond the season, she was the campaign’s top try-scorer with 40 as her nation won the title. Blyde was named World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the year in 2017, completing a rapid rise from outsider to New Zealand regular.

Michaela Blyde 2016/17

Michaela Blyde during her breakthrough 2016/17 season (Getty Images)

5. She was also named World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the year in 2018, becoming the first women’s player to win the accolade twice, let alone in consecutive years.

6. She possessed searing pace from an early age, which proved a blessing and a curse during her upbringing. “Because I have a sprinter’s physique, I developed muscles easily,” Blyde told thisNZlife. “The downside was derogatory comments from her contemporaries.

“I was teased for having biceps or for being fast, teased for being a competitive girl who could beat the boys.”

7. Devastating in open space, Blyde made headlines when she hit 20mph at the 2017 Dubai Sevens.

8. She scored a tournament-leading nine tries, including a hat-trick in the final against France, as New Zealand retained the Women’s Sevens World Cup in 2018.

9. A believer in meditation, Blyde credits much of her success to visualisation. In 2021, she told World Rugby: “I visualised myself all the time, getting the ball and running around people, chasing people down, scoring tries. And, once I continue to visualise that, then it eventually becomes reality.”

10. She erased painful Olympic memories at Tokyo in 2021, scoring seven tries in five matches, including the opening score in the final, as New Zealand captured gold.

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