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Big future . . . Waitaki Girls' High School touch player Sarah Jamison (15) has been selected for the New Zealand Touch Development Tour, as part of an Under-16 team. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Playing with the boys has helped make Sarah Jamison a better touch rugby player.

So much so, the Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil was selected for the New Zealand Touch Development Tour to Australia. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to Covid-19.

“It was pretty sad – I was really excited because it was my first time competing,” she said.

The initial disappointment turned into elation when it was announced the tour would be restructured into a New Zealand-only development camp in Auckland.

Being selected for the camp was a “bit of a surprise” and not something she saw coming, but the 15-year-old completed five days of training sessions and games as part of the under-16 mixed team.

Training sessions included high-performance fitness sessions, learning new techniques and structures, and information regarding drugs in sport.

“It was really beneficial definitely helped to know what to look at, what was in your food that you eat [for enhancement].”

The winger relished the opportunity to be coached by Touch Blacks players and implement what she was taught in the games.

“It was really good, and a lot of it was important stuff that I could use, as he was a winger too, and what they should do.

“The games were harder, so it was good to use the stuff I was taught.”

Her selection for the camp came off the back of her performance for the Otago under-16 mixed team at the national touch tournament earlier this year.

After Otago trials last Sunday, Sarah was selected in the Otago under-16 girls team for the season ahead.

While she would play female touch rugby for Otago and Waitaki Girl’s High School, she preferred the challenge of the mixed game.

“I prefer mixed . . . it’s a lot harder, with playing against boys, and I think it’s helped me develop a lot.”

She started playing touch rugby when she was 5, and fell in love with the sport because of the people.

“The friendships you make, and it’s an intense and fun game to play.”