Tell us about where you came from to join OBU?
It all started for me playing through the grades up in Taranaki. As for coming to OBU that came from when the team I was playing for at the Axemen folded back in the early 2000’s. It was Stephen Roberston who really welcomed us and really backed us to get it going in 2004.
I think I remember this story being told from the other side in a previous article but you did quite a lot of arm twisting to get Erin Rush across to OBU didn’t you?
Yes exactly. It was myself Tania Hala and Bekki Pope and a couple of others who just kept on bringing it up! Eventually, she gave in. At first, she just turned up to fill in but before long she was right in amongst it.
The next season her husband Nigel ‘Solly’ Solomon coached us as we had no-one at all back then. That was really good. A funny story about him was when I played with the Pride. When coaching me he said that I just “needed to stick one on some of these bigger women in the Auckland pack. That’s the only way they’ll respect you”. I just said no way, it’s not going to happen!
What’s your favourite on-field memory?
I’ve got a few! In 2008 we got a few wins after not having gone that well. We played Johnsonville in the semi’s and they were definitely the more fancied side being coached by Ken Laban and Piri Weepu! They also had a heap of stars across their team. We held on to beat them 11 to 10. No-one could believe that we did it. It was a fantastic night at the Cambridge that followed!
The next year in 2009 I had a great year and made the Black Ferns. The support I received from across the whole club was amazing, from getting green room access so I could do extra training to attending Prem’s training, and throwing to their lineout etc was just brilliant.
The game I brought up my 100th prem game in 2012. This was really special as we also got to play on the Basin Reserve for the first time. Patches O’Houlahan even managed to get access to the scoreboard to put my name up there!
What’s your favourite off-field memory?
I remember one season when we had our court session up at the Boyd Wilson changing rooms. That week Ross ‘Roscoe’ Kennedy had been helping us learn to counter ruck at practice. It hadn’t been going that great with only one attempt during the game that had fallen flat.
Bt at the court session some of the prems boys got a bit fired up and tried to gatecrash our courty. We did the nest counter ruck I had ever seen and cleared out a bunch of them. There were a pile of grazed knees and a smiling Roscoe who greatly appreciated the performance!
There many, many other nights too but for that would be opening pandora’s box to a great deal of controversy.
Are you involved in rugby these days? Tell us about it…
Yeah, I’ve been player-coach for my club Northern Territory University Pirates in Darwin. For the last 5 or so seasons. We don’t really have the numbers here yet so we play 10’s.
Sevens is our lead-in to rugby for most women, so I spend most time coaching them.
I have officially retired from playing as my second baby is due very soon and I figure I’ve done my bit for now. But you never know. Somebody might be really convincing in getting me bak out there.
What’s life like after OBU? Where are you these days? Work, family.
I’ve just started maternity leave from teaching 10/11-year-olds. And I have one little 2-year-old bloke at daycare at the moment so I can make time to talk to you!
My partner is a very handy lanky loose forward playing for University Pirates club too. We love it over here but still miss the good things like a night down at the ‘bridge after a hard day of code!
We’re really hoping the kids follow in our footsteps and play code!
Any messages of inspiration you want to pass back to the Goat community?
Just enjoy it. It’s a bit of a cliché these days but you make great mates for the rest of your life playing club rugby. Especially at OBU!