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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Black Ferns, capping and Women in Rugby

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Kendra Cocksedge     23 May 2019     Getty Images

We have a few new caps in the squad, which is really exciting. I vividly remember what it felt like when I was named in the squad the first time and without a doubt the feeling never changes. It’s always just as exciting (and nerve wracking) when you get that call. It’s a very long day, checking and re-checking the phone to see if you’ve missed a call from a coach. 

We’ll all be in camp in Auckland this weekend hoping to impress. On Sunday, we have a game against a New Zealand Barbarians side. It’s the first time a New Zealand Barbarians women’s side has been assembled and the match will be a good test for us as we’ll be up against the best players in New Zealand.

With the retirement of Fi (Fiao’o Faamausili) after the November Test series, Les Elder was named Black Ferns captain last week. Les is a great leader on and off the field and we all have a lot of respect for her. She is absolutely uncompromising on the field, setting the standard for everyone to follow. Off the field too she has the ability to bring people together, all attributes of a true leader. Selica Winiata and I are vice captains and we’re looking forward to working with Les to build the best team we can. 

As well as all my Black Ferns commitments, last weekend I was privileged to take part in a special capping ceremony in Christchurch. I was one of 17 Black Ferns players who were officially capped at the South Island event. 
I love mixing and mingling with past and present Black Ferns because they were the women I looked up to, and still do. Some of them I’ve also played alongside. The women who first wore the black jersey created the legacy for us and as a team we often talk about our responsibility to continue that legacy.

I was lucky enough to share the evening with Mum and Dad and a couple of friends. 

Being presented with a physical cap with my debut and Black Ferns number stitched on it was incredibly special. It’s a night I’ll always treasure. 

Finally, this week World Rugby launched a global campaign which aims to revolutionise women’s rugby. The new ‘Women in Rugby’ brand identity and campaign ‘Try and Stop US’ is aimed at driving participation and engagement. 

This is so exciting for us as players. I am so grateful that I get to play this amazing sport. Rugby has given me opportunities to travel the world, meet new people, learn how to deal with life’s ups and downs and how to thrive in a team environment. I have learnt to push myself more than I could ever imagine and what I love the most is the camaraderie of the game. 

Far too often I have been told girls don’t play rugby, well guess what? We can. Try and stop us.