How has your summer break been and what did you get up to?
It was good, I spent the majority of summer back home in Whakatane with Mum and Dad and my sister, as well as my boyfriend and cousins. For New Years, I went down the coast to Waihau Bay (where Boy the movie was filmed). I went camping down there with my partner’s family which was pretty cool. I also had my Mum’s family reunion, so I had a lot of good family time which was nice.
Take us back to your debut in Cape Town, now you have had time to reflect, what was it like running out there in the black jersey for the first time?
I’ve told this a couple of times to the girls, but when I got the call I was out at my cousin’s, who lives out in the ‘wops’. They just finished hunting and we didn’t have a lot of service. When I was talking to Cory (Sweeney) it was cutting out a lot. He told me there might be a chance I could be flown over to join the team, so I told Mum and Dad and they were really happy. I flew out the next day and I was really scared to fly by myself, but excited at the same time. Running out there was a feeling I will never forget. It was one of the best sporting moments for me. Running out and hearing the crowd and being in that stadium is so cool. The feeling the flames and the steam when we ran out, just all the little things made it such a cool feeling. I have never played at a stadium so packed. I kept looking up at the crowd on day one and thinking woah! It was so overwhelming, but then come finals day I was really into the game. Even when we finished, and we watched the boys in the stand, the atmosphere was incredible. I wished I had my phone to take a video because it was just crazy.
What does this team mean to you?
When I think back to the start of last year when I first started, I was so excited, nervous all those emotions, but I am so grateful to be in this team because I know how hard these girls and the management work every day and it’s really special. The culture. You really have to work for this team.
What is it going to be like to play on home soil in Hamilton next weekend?
I’m so excited and so nervous, but whatever happens happens. It’s going to be really special. I always think of Cape Town because it was my debut tournament, but to get this opportunity again, but on home soil will be cool. There will be so many Kiwi supporters and I can’t wait to see the crowd.
Have you got family coming along?
Well actually, the other day my Mum flew out to Perth, so she’s not even here, but my Dad is around, but I’m not sure if he will come. My Mum and Dad are my main supporters and they always follow me and watch me together, so because Mum has gone away Dad might watch from home. I don’t mind that though, but I was like come on Mum, not good timing. But she is over there supporting my sister who is about to have a baby. One of my other sister’s is coming though and my partner too.
Are they planning on dressing up?
They are all in a group chat at the moment trying to figure an outfit to wear.
Tell us a bit about yourself outside of rugby?
I grew up playing netball and touch and I finished my schooling in Auckland at St Kents. I went all the way through school playing netball and touch and only really started playing Sevens properly at the end of 2017 when I played for NZ U18’s and then started playing Nationals. Former Black Fern Victoria Grant got me into playing Sevens.
Away from sport, it’s a coincidence that my cousin and my boyfriend are best friends, so that’s how we are all so close. They go hunting a lot, I don’t really like to hunt, but I like going along with them and going for walks. I’m really enjoying living in the Mount, it’s such a nice place to be based. It’s also nice and close to home, only an hour away, so I get to see my family a lot too.