Brazil has best fans in the world - Manuel

(IRB.COM) Monday 3 March 2014
 Brazil has best fans in the world - Manuel
Fans in Sao Paulo created an atmosphere that Huriana Manuel hadn't experienced before

Rugby Sevens’ eagerly-awaited Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro may still be two years away, but New Zealand captain Huriana Manuel has labelled Brazil's fans “the best in the world” after the most recent IRB Women’s Sevens World Series round last month in Sao Paulo.

New Zealand had to settle for the 'silver medal' runners-up spot after a second Cup final defeat this season to neighbours Australia – a result which leaves the two locked together on 56 points at the top of the Series standings – but the passion of the Brazilian fans helped Manuel get over that disappointment.

“It was the first time we had played in Brazil and the crowd really impressed us,” said Manuel, who joined coach Sean Horan and teammates Sarah Goss and Tyla Nathan-Wong on a visit to Rio de Janeiro before heading home.

“They were pretty close to the pitch and were very excited, singing all the time. We’ve never played in front of such a noisy crowd.

“We were a little frustrated because we were defeated in the final, but the fans’ affection helped us get through this moment quickly.

“Brazil has the best fans in the world. We’re eager to return in 2016 and meet them again.”

The New Zealanders held a session with local school children on Copacabana Beach and visited the Rio 2016 Organising Committee's headquarters, where they received a presentation about the Games.

“We are in love with Rio, the city is really beautiful,” enthused Nathan-Wong. “In our visit to the Committee we got to know the projects from the Olympic Village and the rugby and modern pentathlon arena, which we liked very much. We’re feeling closer to the Games.”

Goss added: “The Olympic comeback will be very positive for rugby. Any sport that receives the Olympic seal gets more visibility and attracts more people.

“It will be a unique opportunity to show our sport to the world and, more directly, to Brazil. We played rugby at the beach with children and it was amazing.”

The New Zealanders weren't alone in being excited by their Brazilian experience - we asked a few other players through @irbwomens, and got a similar response.

Bianca Farella (Canada)

Portia Woodman (New Zealand) Tessa Veldhuis (Netherlands) Kayla McAlister (New Zealand) Ghislaine Landry (Canada) Shannon Parry (Cup winners Australia) Michaela Staniford (England)

WSWS - Brazil

Round 3
07-08 February 2015
Venue: Arena Barueri
City: Barueri, São Paulo
Capacity: 31,000

Series Standings
1New ZealandNew Zealand96
  • Danielle Waterman - England
  • Ireland v Australia
  • Sao Paolo Sevens Winners Australia