Kendra Cocksedge

Taranaki-born Kendra Cocksedge is one of the most influential figures in the global game. After debuting for the Black Ferns at just 19-years-old, Cocksedge has gone on to win two Women’s Rugby World Cup titles (2010 and 2017) and was named World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in 2015. She has also excelled in sevens and was part of the squad that won the inaugural Women’s Sevens World Series in 2013. In 2018 Kendra became the first woman to win the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial player of the year.

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Cocksedge talks Super Rugby and Black Ferns camp

Getty Images     12 Apr 2019     Getty Images

As we all know it’s a huge year ahead with the World Cup putting pressure on players to perform. I imagine it’s also been pretty challenging for coaches to manage the compulsory rest that All Blacks players have had to take in the opening weeks. 

I reckon we’ve seen some quality rugby so far this season, the Crusaders and Hurricanes have been playing some good rugby. It was a difficult start for the Chiefs, Highlanders and Blues, but the Blues have started to come right, winning their last four games on the trot. The Chiefs have bounced back as well so there is some good competition going on in that New Zealand conference. 
There are a few players who have impressed me so far this season. Will Jordan from the Crusaders – his pace and footwork create real trouble for the opposition. Reiko Ioane and Tom Robinson out of the Blues. Robinson is everywhere on the park and his work rate is outstanding, also Ardie Savea has been on fire for the Hurricanes. But I’ve been most impressed with Crusaders outside back George Bridge. I’d be stoked to see him go to Japan later this year.

There seems to be a lot of noise around Ma’a Nonu and whether he should be in the All Blacks mix for the World Cup. Obviously, he’s a great player and he’s been impressive for the Blues the last couple of weeks. But he has a lot of quality competition ahead of him. If there are injuries in the midfield though, and they needed to call upon someone, I wouldn’t rule him out. 

Speaking of the Blues, it really looks like the new management and Leon McDonald have come in and started to make some good gains. They’ve got good players and to have someone like Sonny Bill Williams start on the bench and then come on shows they have a bit of depth. I’d like to see Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams together in the midfield at some stage. 

We’ve got two exciting local derbies this weekend, with the Crusaders taking on the Highlanders in Christchurch and the Blues travelling down the line to Hamilton to face the Chiefs. I can’t look past the Crusaders on Friday night, I think they’ll be too good for the Highlanders who have been hit by a number of injuries. And I reckon the Chiefs will have the edge over the Blues at home.

I’m looking forward to seeing how those two matches play out, although I’m not sure how much Super Rugby I’ll be able to watch this weekend, because I’ll be at the Black Ferns training camp in Christchurch. We haven’t had a camp in the South Island since 2017, so it will be great to gather as a group there this weekend and it gives some of the community coaches a chance to come and have a look. 
It’s a massive year for the Black Ferns, with the Super Series coming up in June and July. We’ll be coming up against the top four teams in the world in San Diego, so we will need to be at our best come that time. This camp is really important as it will include some young players who are coming through. There will be around 50 players taking part in the camp. 

We’ll be training at Lincoln University and on Sunday we’ll be having a training game with the wider squad on Field 1, from 10am. Everyone is welcome to come down and watch. It will be a great opportunity for people to see some of the best players in the world in action. We’d love to see you there.