Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu is one of the seven uncapped players named in the Black Ferns rugby team this week. Although she has been a part of the squad in the past, the Counties Manukau captain has never taken the field in the national jersey, something she is determined to do this time around.
Marino-Tauhinu says she's dreamed about getting back into the team for ages and is very happy to be given another opportunity.
She was a part of the Black Ferns squads in 2015 and 2017 but never got the chance to don the jersey. Marino-Tauhinu says he has worked hard in the past two years to regain the selector's favour.
As well as improving on her core passing and ball skills, she thinks it is her communication and leadership as a halfback for the Counties Manukau Heat that might have led to her recall.
Should the Ngāi Tāhuhu, Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa player finally get on the field during next month's Women's Super Series in San Diego, she could find herself playing inside Ruahei Demant, another reo Māori speaker in the squad.
Marino-Tauhinu is looking forward to that possibility, saying that if that was to occur, the reo Māori will be flowing on the field.
Earlier this year, Marino-Tauhinu earned a Black Ferns contract. However, her day job involves her working in the admissions office at Papakura High School, where she enjoys working with the students and is helping to coach the school's girls rugby team.
She says the school celebrated her selection to the national side yesterday and has been supportive of her this year.
She hopes that her determined journey to the Black Ferns squad can help inspire the students of Papakura to reach their own goals.
Marino-Tauhinu will join up with the rest of the Black Ferns squad in Auckland next weekend as they prepare for the Super Series which begins in San Diego at the end of June.