Sarah Hirini is one of the most well-respected and feared players in international rugby. As captain of the Black Ferns sevens team since 2014, she has built a reputation as an outstanding leader, hard-working forward, and humble character.
Sarah led New Zealand to win Gold at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was also the flagbearer for the NZ Olympic team, Sarah won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a gold and bronze medal at two Commonwealth Games, two Rugby World Cup sevens titles (in 2013 and 2018) and six World Series titles. Alongside sevens, Sarah has won two Rugby World Cup titles for the Blackferns - 2017 and 2021.
Sarah became the first player in the women’s World Sevens Series to play 200 matches and 50 international tournaments. She was the first woman to win the Tom French Memorial Māori player of the year at the New Zealand Rugby awards and the second-ever female to win the Kel Tremain award. Sarah’s standing at the top of the game has also been recognised as a four-time nominee for World Rugby’s sevens player of the year.
Sarah, who is of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, is passionate about inspiring young people to excel. She’s an advocate for women’s rugby and the growth of women’s sports. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Māori studies and sport science, her pilot's license, and is a player representative on the NZ Rugby Players Association Board and International Rugby Players Council.
Sarah was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby in 2019 and was recently recognised with the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award in 2023.