Holmes keen to keep foot in the door

BREAKOUT YEAR: Gisborne’s Renee Holmes, Waikato 15s rugby player of the year, has been selected for a national sevens development camp. Picture supplied

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Renee Holmes carries the ball for Surge against Power in a one-day sevens tournament in Waitakere last week. Picture supplied

Renee Holmes. Named in national sevens development camp after being named one of the most valuable players in the Ignite sevens tournament. Playing for Surge, against Power. Pictures supplied

EMERGING rugby talent Renee Holmes is heading into full-time training for sevens this summer.

Gisborne-raised Holmes, 19, was named one of the most valuable players at last week’s Ignite7 tournament, earning a place at a national sevens development camp next year.

“It’s a great opportunity and I will give it my all,” she said.

“I’ve got my foot in the door and want to keep it there.”

Holmes, Grace Kukutai and Isla Norman-Bell were named alongside Roderick Solo, Joel Cobb and Jona Mataiciwa as this year’s Red Bull Ignite7 MVPs, after an intensive four days of training and testing and a one-day tournament in Waitakere.

Not expecting to be picked, Holmes didn’t realise she had been selected for the January Black Ferns sevens camp until her name was read out a second time.

“I was speechless; it was a big shock,” she said.

The rest of the male and female New Zealand squads will be selected after the national sevens in Tauranga on December 14 and 15.

Holmes is competing at a regional sevens tournament in Cambridge for Waikato this weekend.

She has already been training hard and her summer programme will include more running and fitness drills.

The Ignite7 camp gave her a taste of a high-performance environment.

As well as taking part in training sessions, the 96 athletes at the camp had education workshops and were tested for fitness and strength.

“The education sessions were really helpful,” Holmes said.

“Courage came up a lot and it was awesome to see some of the quieter people step out of their comfort zones.”

She was ranked third in the skills test — high-ball catching, taking the ball into contact, passing off the ground, tackling and drop-kicking.

They were also put through their paces at the gym and in sprint tests.

Holmes led the Surge team at the tournament and another rising star from Gisborne, Kelsey Teneti, was co-captain for the Bolt team.

The players’ heart rate, “body impacts” and number of sprints per game were all measured.

It’s been quite a year for Holmes.

The former student at Gisborne Girls’ High School played sevens in Japan and then played for the Waikato 15s team in the Farah Palmer Cup.

She ended up playing every minute of every game — slotting in at first five-eighth, halfback and fullback — and was named Waikato women’s player of the year.

Holmes excelled at many sports while at school, including taekwondo and ki o rahi.

In 2015, she played for the New Zealand under-17 girls’ football side in the national women’s league. In 2016, she was the runner-up most valuable player at the u20 ultimate (frisbee) world championships in Poland.

She played rugby for the Hawke’s Bay Tui 15s team in 2017 while she was still at school.

She was part of the Bay of Plenty Volcanix 15s side in 2018 but couldn’t play at last year’s Ignite7 tournament because of injury.

Holmes impressed this year with her leadership, skill level and work rate.

EMERGING rugby talent Renee Holmes is heading into full-time training for sevens this summer.

Gisborne-raised Holmes, 19, was named one of the most valuable players at last week’s Ignite7 tournament, earning a place at a national sevens development camp next year.

“It’s a great opportunity and I will give it my all,” she said.

“I’ve got my foot in the door and want to keep it there.”

Holmes, Grace Kukutai and Isla Norman-Bell were named alongside Roderick Solo, Joel Cobb and Jona Mataiciwa as this year’s Red Bull Ignite7 MVPs, after an intensive four days of training and testing and a one-day tournament in Waitakere.

Not expecting to be picked, Holmes didn’t realise she had been selected for the January Black Ferns sevens camp until her name was read out a second time.

“I was speechless; it was a big shock,” she said.

The rest of the male and female New Zealand squads will be selected after the national sevens in Tauranga on December 14 and 15.

Holmes is competing at a regional sevens tournament in Cambridge for Waikato this weekend.

She has already been training hard and her summer programme will include more running and fitness drills.

The Ignite7 camp gave her a taste of a high-performance environment.

As well as taking part in training sessions, the 96 athletes at the camp had education workshops and were tested for fitness and strength.

“The education sessions were really helpful,” Holmes said.

“Courage came up a lot and it was awesome to see some of the quieter people step out of their comfort zones.”

She was ranked third in the skills test — high-ball catching, taking the ball into contact, passing off the ground, tackling and drop-kicking.

They were also put through their paces at the gym and in sprint tests.

Holmes led the Surge team at the tournament and another rising star from Gisborne, Kelsey Teneti, was co-captain for the Bolt team.

The players’ heart rate, “body impacts” and number of sprints per game were all measured.

It’s been quite a year for Holmes.

The former student at Gisborne Girls’ High School played sevens in Japan and then played for the Waikato 15s team in the Farah Palmer Cup.

She ended up playing every minute of every game — slotting in at first five-eighth, halfback and fullback — and was named Waikato women’s player of the year.

Holmes excelled at many sports while at school, including taekwondo and ki o rahi.

In 2015, she played for the New Zealand under-17 girls’ football side in the national women’s league. In 2016, she was the runner-up most valuable player at the u20 ultimate (frisbee) world championships in Poland.

She played rugby for the Hawke’s Bay Tui 15s team in 2017 while she was still at school.

She was part of the Bay of Plenty Volcanix 15s side in 2018 but couldn’t play at last year’s Ignite7 tournament because of injury.

Holmes impressed this year with her leadership, skill level and work rate.

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