She was just a five year-old when she first picked up the oval-shaped ball and gave rugby a crack.
“I played with the boys and then continued right through to my first year of college. I got into it because all my friends were boys, so I just copied what they did.”
Unfortunately, after several injuries, Newton had to make the difficult decision to give the game up earlier on. She then focused on cricket and made her way to the top level, playing for the Wellington Blaze, Canterbury Magicians and then the White Ferns. The 24-year old last played for the White Ferns against Pakistan in 2017. She is looking to be part of the group again for the upcoming summer but wants to build on the progress she made last year with her cricket.
After a break away from the game, Newton recently got back into rugby again, playing for Old Boys University in Wellington.
“I played alongside a great bunch of girls and coaching staff at OBU. Although, I do owe a shout out to Paremata-Plimmerton who I played all my rugby for growing up. I am certainly looking to return there at some point.”
She had a remarkable match for OBU this season. In just her second outing for the club, Newton scored 46 points. Picking up six tries and slotting eight conversions. She is grateful she is able to play the two games she loves.
“Fortunately, my job allows for a lot of flexibility. My cricket training occurs throughout the day and then I have rugby in the evenings. Both cricket and rugby have been very accommodating, which makes things easier for me.”
It’s fitting that Newton is playing for the Pride this year, as she used to be the ball girl for the side when she was younger.
“Despite being knocked around a few times, I am having a ball of a time playing rugby again. It’s a massive change physically from cricket so my body has paid the price a little bit. But I am enjoying the challenges and being part of such a great Farah Palmer Cup campaign.”
Newton has already played 10 one day internationals and nine Twenty20 matches for New Zealand and she wants to add to that number. But juggling two national teams may be a step too far.
“Given the rise of women’s rugby in New Zealand over the past couple of years, the chance to play for the Black Ferns has become very competitive. It would probably take a bit of time before I could even think about being a dual international. Also, the schedules would probably be very conflicting.
“My focus at the moment is to overcome my current injury and get back out on the park with the girls and help them to win this year’s title.”
The Pride playmaker has this strong message for girls who want to play multiple sports.
“Sometimes the beauty of women’s sport is that it allows girls to play a range of sports without having to specialise at a young age. I encourage girls and their parents to allow their children to play as many sports as they can for as long as they can. They will thank you for it later.”
After a great win over the Counties Manukau Heat last weekend, the Pride play old foes the Auckland Storm at Eden Park on Sunday at 11.35am. It’s a side Wellington haven’t beaten since they won the NPC final back in 2006. They’ll be doing all they can do break the drought.