Erin Rush being interviewed by the Goat

The Goat recently ran into Erin who was running an open home for a house in Miramar. That house has now become the new goat ‘loafing shed’ (look it up)!

Now that the dust has settled from that, the goat sat down with Erin over a coffee to get the lowdown on what she’s been up to and to hear some tales from when women’s rugby was really up against it!

Tell us about where you came from to join OBU?

I had been playing for Wellington Axemen. We had two teams at one stage, but then Hutt Old Boys started a team, and all the Hutt players that played for us rather than Petone, joined them. Eventually, we folded, but Claire Rowat, Bekki Pope and a couple of others had gone to OBU, and a couple of quick chats had me over there not long after.

I played about four seasons for OBU and got up to 60 odd games.

What is your favourite on-field memory?

Playing in a final at Petone Rec*. I also remember the connections some of us formed in being able to know precisely what the other one was thinking and just going for it. I remember that instinct working perfectly for Wheels and myself in a game which resulted in a try that really started from a glance at each other, then backing ourselves to pull it off. Those are the moments you play for!

I also recall one time playing for Wellington. We had a woman that drove down from the ‘Naki for training and the games (Taranaki didn’t have a team back then). She was farm-raised with a real ‘get on with it’ attitude that I liked. Well at the half time break she decided to breastfeed her baby which probably would have shocked a few people, but I remember thinking this is bloody great!

What is your favourite off-field memory?

The relationships that you form with those you play with and against — both on the field and then at the aftermatches and around the traps. I’m still regularly in contact with my old teammates and women from the teams we played.

At this point, the goat prompted Erin to spill the beans on what happened in the Wellington vs Canada game a few years ago.

Well, a little known fact is that we were the last game of rugby played on Athletic park. The posts were pulled down forever shortly after our game. Anyway, what I think you’re referring to is the jerseys? Well yes, we had some men’s team hand me downs with rips and repairs etc. They had been washed this week from the Saturday game luckily. This didn’t always happen, haha!

At the end of the game, the Canadian women wanted to swap jerseys, so we thought what the hell and did so. Boy did this cause some grief. The union was apoplectic. I felt sorry for our manager as she wore the brunt of it, but I also got my sermon and an invoice. I’m not really sure why, but I did pay it!

I had also heard another story about the bad old days of rugby that Erin and Izzy Ford had told at the Wellington rugby awards a few weeks ago, so Erin retold that for us too!

We were playing Canterbury on the weekend, so we all hopped aboard the ferry then onto buses from Picton. We then played the game got changed and on the bus back home, 20-something hours on transport! Meanwhile, the Wellington Colts had been flown down and were being flown back after their aftermatch in relative comfort. We found this out because one of them was the future husband of one of our players. Haha, thankfully things have changed these days. We’re not fully there yet, but better than those days at least!

Are you involved in rugby these days? Tell us about it…

I am the first female president of the Centurions club this year and had a lot to do with the under 18 girls team as my husband Solly (Nigel Solomon) coached them. Lisa from the OBU Impalas did a great job managing the team too. There are some players with real potential coming through, and I’ve loved watching them.

Of course, I still support my son’s team as my number 1 (he plays for Wellington College), so I haven’t been able to make any of the OBU Impalas games as they’re on at the same time.

I’m also a citing commissioner for the NPC. I’ve got the Otago vs Hawkes Bay game this afternoon. Luckily I watch these from the couch as I’d probably miss kickoff otherwise!

I was invited by World rugby to the Hamilton 7s tournament as a citing commissioner but have already committed to being away. Unlucky timing that would have been a blast!

I have also still keep in touch with OBU with things like the academy where I went to both the opening and closing ceremonies which were fantastic. It’s a great initiative and I hope OBU can keep that going.

What’s life like after OBU? Where are you these days? Work, family.

I have a Harcourts real estate business with my husband Solly. We live in town and we have a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old who keep us busy!

Any messages of inspiration you want to pass back to the Goat community?

What I loved about OBU was the simple things like there always being someone to watch the kids while I played. I loved that The Cambridge was kid-friendly for the aftermatches too.

There are still people like the amazing Hiria McRae still playing at OBU, and the message is to keep pushing ladies you’re doing great things!


*We tried to find out which year and the opposition etc. but locating details for this is going to take a lot more than Google as perhaps shamefully the history of women’s rugby hasn’t been that well documented in Wellington. – Ed.