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New Zealand legend to retire after Paris Olympics

NEWS: One of the most recognisable and decorated players in the game, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, has announced she will retire from international rugby after the Paris Olympics.

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A fan favourite, Woodman-Wickliffe has been a star of both the Sevens and XVs game for more than a decade, having an impact on and off the field.

Starting as a professional netballer, Woodman-Wickliffe was introduced to rugby through the Go4Gold programme and was part of the first Black Ferns Sevens team to play on the World Series in 2012.

A World Cup winner in 2017 and 2022, a World Cup Sevens winner in 2013 and 2018, Olympic gold and silver medallist and Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medallist are just a few of the on-field accolades she has to her name.

A record holder in both games, Woodman-Wickliffe has scored the most tries in World Cups, with 20, the most tries in a Black Ferns Test, with eight, and the most tries in Sevens Series history with 256.

She was recognised by World Rugby as Sevens Player of the Year in 2015, Women’s Player of the Year (XVs) in 2017 and in 2020 was named as the top women’s Sevens player of the past decade.

In a social media post, Woodman-Wickliffe reflected on her time in the black jersey.

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“After 12 incredible years representing New Zealand in Sevens and XVs, the upcoming Paris Olympics will be my last time playing in the black jersey.

“Rugby has provided me more than a career, it’s given me a second whānau in my sisters, opportunities to see the world and experience things I never would have otherwise. One last dance with my sisters in Paris,” said Woodman-Wickliffe.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson commented: “It is impossible to measure the impact Portia has had on rugby. She is a once-in-a-generation player who reached the pinnacle on the field, on multiple occasions, and off the field has helped to grow the women’s game across the globe, where she is an incredible ambassador and represents everything great about our sport.

“Within New Zealand Rugby we talk a lot about winning with mana and Portia certainly personifies that.”

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Black Ferns Sevens coach Cory Sweeney remarked on the influence Woodman-Wickliffe has had on the game.

“It’s been a real privilege to be part of Portia’s journey over the past eight years, watching her dominate and influence the game makes me feel incredibly proud. She will be hugely missed but there is one more huge opportunity for her to go out there and to deepen the legacy she will leave behind,” said Sweeney.

Woodman-Wickliffe will don the black jersey for the last time in Paris, her third appearance at the Olympic Games.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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