Dayna touch captain

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Love the game . . . Dayna Turnbull (24) is passionate about touch and has recently stepped up as captain of the Touch Blacks. PHOTO: ELLA STOKES

For the first time an Otago women’s player has been named captain of the Touch Blacks women’s team.

Dayna Turnbull has been in the touch blacks for five years and was recently got called to fill the captain’s role.

The 24-year-old has been playing touch since she was 6. She made the Otago representative team when she was 14 and played for the New Zealand under 21 women’s team when just 16.

Touch had been a big part of Turnbull’s life and she said she was passionate about the game. It was her “favourite thing to do.”

Turnbull does her own individual training with her trainer in Dunedin six times a week, which involved both fitness and ball skills.

She also travels to Auckland for training camps with her team.

In her role as captain, Turnbull said she hoped to “lead by example .. and create an even better team culture so everyone feels like they are connected”.

Not only does she excel on the field herself but she is also helping younger players to fill their boots.

Alongside playing touch, Turnbull works at Columba College where she is the sports director and has coached the senior A touch team to South Island victory in both 2017 and 2018.

She has also started a women’s club team called The Southern Steelers, due to there being no women’s touch league in which to play in Dunedin.

The team has since travelled around the country to tournaments.

“I wanted to make somewhere younger talented girls could have somewhere to play,” Turnbull said.

Her team will play in the Open Trans Tasman Test Series in Rotorua late next month with its sights set on the Touch World Cup, to be held in Malaysia in April next year.