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Kiwi Ironwoman finds joy in taking the longer road

A former triathlon world champ, a burnt-out Rebecca Clarke gave the sport away, only to return as a top Ironwoman. She tells Merryn Anderson why she's happy to put herself through the slog and heat of the world champs in Kona this week. 

Rebecca Clarke has finally found her happy place. And it's not where most of us would want to be. 

While the residents of Kona, Hawaii, wake up, go to work for eight hours and then settle down for the evening on Friday, New Zealander Clarke will still be racing on the island's roads. Yes, that whole time. 

Clarke will be competing in the Ironman world championships, swimming just under 4kms, biking 180kms and then running a full marathon (42kms), aiming for a total race time of around nine hours. It's a unique Ironman Kona this year, with women competing in their own event - on a different day to the men - for the first time.

And it will be a big challenge for someone who stepped away from representing New Zealand in Olympic-length triathlons after a string of nasty setbacks in 2016, but found a new joy in competing over longer distances. 

Clarke, a former world age-group tri champion, has found a new balance in life between her work and her sport, which she says is contributing to making her a better athlete. And she believes a happy athlete always performs better, so when she’s enjoying training and competing, then the results follow. 

“I’ve really enjoyed these last several months, being able to travel and race again,” the 33-year-old says. 

“There are times when I haven’t, and I think that shows if you’re mentally in a good place and having fun with it, then you’re a better athlete.” 

Rebecca Clarke (left) was one of the two fastest women in the water in a training swim earlier this week, her strongest leg of the Ironman race. Photo: Ironman/Donald Miralle

Clarke qualified for the world champs after finishing second in Ironman Australia in May, completing the Port Macquarie course in 9h 7m.

“I was happy with the training I'd done, then coming second there and getting the Kona slot was definitely quite a bit of a shift of ‘Wow I’ve actually qualified’,” says Clarke, who's the only Kiwi woman competing in these world champs. 

“It gave me a lot more confidence after that performance the year before that I could actually race Ironman well, if I prepared and did things right on race day.” 

In 2021, Clarke competed in Ironman Cairns, hoping for a Kona qualification spot, but struggled to be at her best. 

“I just stuffed up my nutrition and made a few mistakes and paid for it later in the race,” she says. “I think for a while, I was like ‘I’m not sure if I want to do another Ironman again’.” 

Clarke was a competitive swimmer throughout school, and stepped away when she went to university. Apart from a few triathlons during school, her first proper tri wasn’t until she was 22, competing in Auckland’s People Triathlon Series with her dad. 

In only her third Olympic distance triathlon, she qualified for the 2011 ITU world championship grand final in Beijing. 

“I went there for experience, for fun, and came away winning the 20-24 age group," says Clarke, who was first out of the water by a full minute. "So that kind of sparked me carrying on and being like ‘Oh I could be potentially quite good at this’."

Her triathlon journey took her across the world, competing in the ITU world series between 2014 and 2016. 

Then in 2016, Clarke suffered a foot injury, and increased her cycling and swimming training to rest her foot from long runs.  

Rebecca Clarke on her way to 3rd at the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Taupo. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith. 

One day training on the road, Clarke hit a speed bump on her bike flying down a hill and came off, landing heavily and injuring her face. 

She spent two days in hospital after an hour-and-a-half in surgery to stitch up lacerations to her face. Five weeks after the crash, she was back to cycling and swimming, but was still dealing with her foot injury. 

She missed the final selection race for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and decided to step away from racing triathlons. 

“At that time, I wasn’t really feeling that happy in doing triathlon,” Clarke says. 

“Elite sport is quite a cut-throat environment and when you’re not performing, there’s even more pressure to. And I think I was a little bit burnt out, not 100 percent healthy.

“It was a wake-up point that I needed to take better care of myself and decided I was going to finish with triathlon for a little bit.”

Her break lasted about six months, Clarke laughs, before giving the longer distance a go. 

“The mindset was just about having a bit more balance, not having 100 percent focus on triathlon,” she says. 

“I liked having other things outside of triathlon and some work, so it kind of took the pressure off having to perform every single race.” 

Clarke also works as a triathlon coach, under Foot Traffic Endurance Sport Coaching, a company run by her own coach, Rob Dallimore. She also does admin work for physio business Sports Lab.

“It takes focus off myself and puts it onto others and uses my experience over a few years involving triathlon,” she explains. 

A 2016 bike crash gave Clarke a new outlook on competing, and a balance to her life. Photo: Sportograf

For the first time in the history of the Ironman world championships, the men and women will compete on different days, with an increase in competitors due to many athletes deferring their entries over the last two years because of Covid restrictions. 

“It allows us to have a lot more coverage, which is good for sponsors and friends and family watching,” Clarke says. 

And for such a strong swimmer, Clakre won’t have to worry about catching any of the men on the swim leg. 

When racing for nine hours, it’s a long time to think - both about the race and for a mind to wander. 

“You’re always thinking, especially in the long distance, about your nutrition - do I need to take a drink, do I need to take another gel now? And that helps you keep on task,” Clarke says. 

“Going through the aid stations, you’re just focusing in that moment on grabbing bottles and things like that. And super important for the heat in Kona is to be staying on top of hydration.” 

When she’s not focusing on the technical aspects of the race, Clarke will play a song in her head or do some mental maths, to distract from the daunting task of running a marathon to finish. 

“I find my best races are where I just stay more in the moment; you don’t want to be thinking too much about what’s to come,” she says. 

Clarke also makes sure the voice in her head keeps her going. “Self-talks, trying to keep that as positive as possible, just little cues,” she explains. 

“Simple things like ‘You’re doing well’, or ‘Relax’.

“If something happens, you run through a few scenarios. In a recent event, I had a bottle fly out so I was trying to keep myself calm about losing that bottle. Thinking as soon as you get to the next aid station, you’re going to have to take on some extra water, extra electrolytes, so we’re always running through scenarios.”

*The Ironman world championships will be streamed on Facebook on the IRONMAN now page, as well as YouTube and Twitch. The women’s race is on Friday 7 at 5.25am (NZT). 

Sparkplug Kendra ignites Black Ferns

After years of knock-backs and disappointment, Kendra Reynolds has powered her way into the Black Ferns to defend the Rugby World Cup. And the resilient No.7, whose job off the field was to ignite a fire for rugby in women and girls, is now leading by example. 

The Black Ferns call them the 'sparkplugs' – the players warming the bench ready to ignite the game the moment they take the field.

Kendra Reynolds has become possibly the most spirited of the Ferns’ sparkplugs. The No.7 immediately makes her presence felt whenever she’s injected into the starting line-up. Whether it’s a powerful run with the ball in hand, or a bruising tackle stopping the opposition in their tracks.

“She’s a great starting player, but when she comes off the bench, she makes such an impact,” her Black Ferns co-captain, and good mate, Kennedy Simon, says. “She catches your attention straight away.”

And Reynolds has come to understand and accept being a reserve has its own importance. “It’s really special being a sparkplug - you sit on the bench, getting hot, reading the game so you can do the right thing as soon as you get on,” she says. “You can really influence the game with your energy.”

And with Simon nursing a calf injury, Reynolds could even make the starting XV for the Black Ferns' opening Rugby World Cup match against the Wallaroos at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday. 

Off the field, Reynolds has a laugh that brightens a room. She’s exuberant and funny – Alana Bremner, her Matatū captain, calls her the “fizzer” of the team - but she’s also big-hearted, selfless and insightful.

Her passion for rugby extends well beyond the playing field. Her former colleagues at Bay of Plenty Rugby say Reynolds has “ignited a fire for rugby in hundreds, if not thousands, of girls and young women.”

She'd like to do that again by simply playing her dynamic game during the Rugby World Cup, hoping to inspire a new generation of female rugby players.

But she hasn’t always been this fervent about the game - there have been plenty of times over the last seven years the 29-year-old has considered quitting, frustrated when she couldn’t break her way into the Black Ferns squad.

A switch from flanker to hooker – when she wasn’t sure if she was playing in the right position – led to a spinal injury and almost extinguished her love for the game.

Fortunately for the Black Ferns, Reynolds got her opportunity to prove herself on last year’s Northern Tour, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s been a journey of resilience and perseverance for me,” she says. “But whether it’s black jersey or battling in the Bay colours, I just love the game. And right now, I’m a Black Fern, this is me, and I’m loving it.”

Black Ferns flanker Kendra Reynolds crashes over for a try against Australia at Adelaide Oval in August. Photo: Getty Images. 

Black Fern #220, Reynolds made her debut in the black jersey at Stade Pierre-Fabre against the French women last November. She came off the bench for 10 minutes, in the fourth loss on a harsh end-of-season tour – one that led to major changes in the Black Ferns environment and a significant shift in the team’s culture.

“That first game was a special moment for me, and for a lot of the girls who’ve been on the journey with me too,” says Reynolds, who can’t bring herself to watch the unforgettable video of her screaming and crying when she was named in the team.

“Sometimes when we just look at results, we can forget about moments like that.”

But she says she didn’t truly feel like a Black Fern until this season.

“It wasn’t when I played my first test match, or did my first haka. It was this year when I felt confident to speak in front of the group,” Reynolds says.

“At home, I’m a big loud voice. It was funny - people would see me in my Bay of Plenty environment, and I’d come into Black Ferns and be a different person because I wasn’t confident enough to be who I am.

“But this year the whole team has been on a journey in embracing who you are and having the confidence to be that.”

Reynolds grew up immersed in women’s rugby. Her cousin, Kellie Kiwi, was a Black Fern halfback, who starred in their 1998 Rugby World Cup victory and was pivotal in growing the sevens game in New Zealand.

Kiwi lived in Papamoa then, where Reynolds grew up, and brought some of her Black Ferns team-mates to Papamoa Primary.  

“There were a lot of girls who didn’t know about women’s rugby, but I knew it,” Reynolds, who’s Ngāti Ranginui, says.

“I remember watching a few of Kellie’s games but coverage of the game was poor back then, so it was more stories about her on the marae. Last month, we were on the marae together – Kellie’s moved home from Australia now – and we got to talking about rugby.

“She’s a big supporter of me and the Black Ferns. We have a very special connection.”

Kendra Reynolds goes back to her old school, Te Puke Intermediate, to talk about being a Black Fern

Despite that whānau bond with the game, Reynolds didn’t play it as a kid. In fact, she didn’t engage with sport much at all.

“I tended to stay home and watch cartoons and hang out with my mum. I wasn’t the most athletic kid,” she says. “But when I was 13 at Te Puke High School, my friends and I said: ‘Okay how do we get out of class?’

“We signed up to rugby, and from my very first game – against a visiting Canadian school team – I loved it. I was at prop, but there’d be a scrum and I’d be out on the wing.

“I fell in love with everything about the game. I was a Year 9 kid who suddenly had a bunch of Year 13s looking after me around the school, and at parties on the weekend. It was something I wanted to be part of for the rest of my life – from that first game, I wanted to be a Black Fern. It just took a little while to get there.”

A self-confessed “nutcase”, she found her calling as a loose forward: “I didn’t like being trapped in a scrum for too long.”

Because Reynolds didn’t have a broad background in the game, entering the women’s grades came as a reality check. She realised her limited skillset was holding her back.

“I had strong ball carries, and I could tackle anything. But in terms of vision, decision, catch, pass, I wasn’t the greatest to start with,” she says. “And I didn’t have a lot of the mental skills required to perform at the top level consistently.”

So she and a few other players drove to Hamilton three times a week to play for the Waikato University club side, where she learned from the Black Ferns in her team – Honey Hireme, Teresa Te Tamaki, Crystal Kaua, Victoria Grant and Carla Hohepa.

“A lot of the senior players played my position, so I spent the next few years learning how to come off the bench and the role to play,” Reynolds says.

Her first Black Ferns camp was in 2015, and she played “probably the worst game of rugby I’ve played”, she admits. “I’m a competitor, but suddenly in a trial I couldn’t handle the pressure, my confidence was rock bottom. I didn’t express what I had to offer.”

It was four years until she got another phone call from New Zealand Rugby. A frustrating time where she struggled with injuries and missed selections.

“There were lots of times when I wanted to stop playing,” she says. “I thought I was ready, but the powers that be weren’t picking me. I was lucky I had a lot of great people beside me.”

Reynolds admits she doesn’t fit the typical mould of a flanker. “If you look at me you think hooker,” she says. “So I’ve always had pressure when I haven’t made it to change position.

“I’ve tried to transition to hooker - but the pressure of throwing the ball in was actually too much for me, and it took away my love of the game.”

Kendra Reynolds at Black Ferns training for their opening RWC2021 match v Australia at Eden Park on Saturday. Photo: NZ Rugby.

She remembers the turning point - sitting in a car with Reuben Samuel, who worked for Waikato developing women's rugby before becoming an assistant Black Ferns coach in 2015. “I was really unhappy with rugby, and he asked ‘Why do you play?’ I just loved the sport. At that moment, I decided I’m going to play seven because that’s where I love playing.

“Reuben pulled me back from the brink of leaving the sport.”

Reynolds then went on a tour to Fiji with the Black Ferns Development XV in 2019, but still couldn’t push her way into the Black Ferns squad.

She had one more shot playing hooker in a game for her Rangiuru club, but the scrum kept collapsing and she found herself sidelined for four months with bulging discs in her spine. “My body was telling me it’s not for me,” she laughs.

Returning home to turn out for the Bay of Plenty Volcanix, Reynolds became a crucial, consistent player, who’s now played over 60 Farah Palmer Cup games.

She’s forged a special relationship with Bay of Plenty Rugby, working there for the past five years – much of that time as women’s development manager. She resigned earlier this year when she became a fully-contracted Black Fern.

“It’s a no brainer that she’s gone on to bigger and better things, because she’s just that type of high performing person,” says Bay of Plenty Rugby’s general manager of community rugby, Pat Rae. Reynolds got 1000 more kids in the Bay to play Rippa rugby, before having the same effect on women and girls.

She says she’ll continue to help the union as a volunteer. “Now I’ll be able to have a more localised effect on my club and community. I have a group of girls I’ve worked with for the last 10 years; I want to see them flourish …I’m looking forward to being a big sis again.”

Kendra Reynolds receives her Black Ferns jersey for RWC2021 with whānau, including her parents, Trish and Andy.

Since being selected for the World Cup, Reynolds has been inundated with messages from girls she’s helped introduce to the game, and their parents. “The girls text: ‘Oh Kendra, I can’t wait till this is me’,” she says proudly.

The Bay of Plenty union asked Reynolds if she’d wait until the Black Ferns contracts come up for renewal early next year before finishing up her role.  

“But I decided to be brave and use this as an opportunity, because something great is going to happen, and I don’t know what it’s going to be. But I hope me putting myself out into the world, something good will come back.”

She wants to continue working in sport, creating spaces for females to succeed.  

“Anything that empowers women to chase leadership positions or fight the good fight, that’s the space I want to be in. Whether that’s community or high performance – or something I haven’t even thought about yet,” she says.

Reynolds has always wanted to help other women achieve more, even when it’s left her on the sideline.

On last year’s Northern Tour, she was happy to help make two of her best mates, Kennedy Simon and former Black Ferns captain Les Elder, be “the best sevens in the world”.

“She’s an incredible individual,” says Simon, “She’s definitely helped me become a better player. We work so well together, because we’re polar opposites: I’m quiet and reserved, she’s loud and out there, with so much energy.”

Elder and Reynolds trained together in Tauranga, dubbed “the Harry Hard-outs”, Reynolds says. But they realised they had become “too comfortable” with each other – Reynolds happy to move to No.6 for Elder.

“But the reality was, we are both specialist sevens,” Reynolds says.

When the Super Rugby Aupiki teams were being chosen earlier this year, Reynolds sat down with Elder, the Chiefs captain, and together they decided it was better for Reynolds to move to Matatū so she could play at No.7.

It ended up being one of the best decisions of her career. Although Reynolds won a spot in the World Cup squad ahead of Elder, she knows her old team-mate is “bloody happy” for her.

“I’ll be 30 in January and I feel it’s come a little bit later for me than others, but I feel like everything is changing and all the crap I’ve been through has led to this. There have been relationships lost, there have been some tough times,” she says. “But I’ve made it to the World Cup so whatever happens now it’s about helping the Black Ferns win.”

* Ticket sales for the RWC2021 opening day this Sunday have now reached 35,000 - easily making it the largest crowd for a women's international rugby match. The Black Ferns will also play in front of a full house at Waitākere Stadium on October 16 when they meet Wales. So far 75,000 tickets have sold for the tournament - the organisers' target is 120,000. 

Women thrashing men with global rugby contest

While the men are squabbling, Jim Kayes says, women's rugby has made a huge leap ahead starting an annual global competition, WXV, in 2023 - which should make the Rugby World Cup even stronger. 

Women’s rugby has thrashed the men. Embarrassed them really.

While the blokes have been arguing for decades about a global calendar and an annual, or bi-annual competition - and still are - the women set one up in just a year.

Well, it was actually a few days because, though it took a year from when the WXV was first raised in 2018 to when it was confirmed in 2019, it took just two days - with everyone locked in a room in Hong Kong - to work out the details.

Egos were set aside, personal perspectives were ignored and the good of the game took centrestage.

The tournament would have kicked off by now if not for the Covid-19 pandemic. But it will start next year, featuring 18 teams in three divisions of six, played at two or three venues which will be revealed in a few weeks. World Rugby has committed almost $13 million to the tournament over the first two years.

Sponsors and broadcasters are yet to be found, but organisers are confident the financial future of the tournament will be secure.

Alison Hughes, World Rugby’s head of women’s competitions who's in New Zealand as the director of the Rugby World Cup, says WXV will be paused in 2025 so it can be reevaluated.

But she's confident it's here to stay and smiles without commenting when it’s noted the men’s game is still squabbling over how they can have a common calendar and more global competition.

Italy's Michela Sillari dots down against Spain at the RWC21 Euro qualifier. Photo: Alessandro Sabattini/World Rugby

Women are rugby’s success story with the growth in their game accelerating around the world - and propping up the numbers here in New Zealand.

Women play rugby in about 50 countries, with roughly half that number regularly involved in competitive games.

Twelve countries will compete in the World Cup in New Zealand this month, with 16 set to take the field in 2025.

“If WXV goes well we will be playing with 20 teams at the World Cup sooner rather than later,” Hughes says.

England has a women’s premiership competition and France have been quietly professional longer than anyone else. Those two, along with New Zealand, are the best three in the world and are likely to contest the final in Auckland.

Behind them Six Nations teams Wales, Ireland and Scotland are rapidly improving and in the last eight months have contracted some of their squads.

Australia (superb in sevens but still finding their feet in XVs), South Africa, Canada and the USA are improving.

Colombia win a line-out in their win over Kazakhstan at the RWC21 final qualifier. Photo: Christopher Pike/World Rugby

The real growth though, could come from unlikely countries like Kazakhstan, who have competed in six women’s Rugby World Cups and were on track to come to New Zealand for this month’s tournament till they lost, late in qualifying, to Colombia - who were in turn beaten by Scotland.

The Celts play their opening match against Wales on Sunday and the Black Ferns later in the month.

“Women’s rugby is growing rapidly,” says Hughes, noting that five tests were played in the November international window in 2016, and 22 in the same month just two years later.

Last year, despite Covid still having an impact, 16 tests were played in November, including four by the Black Ferns.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm but it needs everyone to come to the table and say what they need [from World Rugby],” says Hughes.

That’s because those needs vary so greatly when the game is growing so quickly.

Investment is needed at the grassroots, especially in the developing countries, with a focus on developing skills and retaining players.

But Hughes says there needs to be a top-down approach as well. “You can’t build the game without that because you have to give the players something to aspire to. Competition is really important," she says. 

In Europe, as an example, rugby is popular in Sweden and Germany but they need more games.

It's the same around the world. Hughes rattles off countries where women love the game, and notes that for some they have invested heavily in sevens which has been the shining light for women’s rugby.

Spain celebrate upsetting Ireland 8-7 at the RWC21 Euro qualifier. Photo: Giorgio Perottino/World Rugby

Brazil focused on their sevens programme leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics and are now shifting that focus to XVs.

The game is popular in Columbia where Hughes says there is an old-school look to their national team - a side that reflects all shapes and sizes.

Fiji will compete at the World Cup for the first time this month and Samoa were looking good too, but their country’s strict Covid travel restrictions meant they couldn’t compete in the final qualifying matches earlier this year.

To date, the growth in the game from a playing numbers perspective hasn’t been reflected in bums on seats at grounds, or a stampede of sponsors, but that's changing too.

A record crowd in excess of 30,000 will be at Eden Park for the triple-header opening day of the Rugby World Cup this Saturday.

And Hughes says the money is out there. “We have only recently begun unpacking the women’s game from the men’s [so it can be sold separately] and there is enthusiasm from our sponsors and broadcasters," she says. 

“Those stakeholders want something more than a World Cup every four years and that’s what WXV will deliver. I think it will be very saleable.”

If it is, if it does kick on and become a permanent fixture, the women will be chuckling all the way to the bank.

The blokes, they’re likely to still be squabbling.

新西兰橄榄球运动员让赖特选择苏格兰

Kiwi-born Molly Wright has returned home to play for Scotland against the Black Ferns in the Rugby World Cup. She tells Kristy Havill of her long, winding road from Reefton to Edinburgh, and back.   

West Coaster Molly Wright’s rugby career has been a stop-start affair. 

Born in the old gold mining town of Reefton, the 31-year-old Wright has lived and played on three different continents, before eventually settling in Edinburgh - where her travels have culminated in wearing the Scottish thistle on her chest. 

As Scotland women’s rugby enters an historic new era of professionalism, Wright has a front row seat to it all. Quite literally, playing hooker. 

But she’s never forgotten her roots, and now she’s returned home – playing for Scotland in the Rugby World Cup kicking off in New Zealand in just a week's time. And she has the Black Ferns firmly in the crosshairs as she hopes to line up against them in their pool match on October 22 in Whangārei. 

All 12 nations in this World Cup have now arrived in New Zealand, and are preparing for the first weekend of games, starting with a triple-header at Eden Park next Saturday (over 30,000 tickets have already sold, making it a world record crowd for a women's World Cup match). Scotland will head to Whangārei for their first clash, against Wales, Sunday week. 

As far as stories go of how she got into rugby, Wright’s is not an uncommon one. 

At the age of four, she picked up the oval ball and started to make the two-hour round trip on Saturday mornings to Westport. Her father was coach of the team, and Wright was one of only a couple of girls playing boys’ rugby. 

It was a routine that continued throughout Wright’s childhood - her passion for the game blossoming as she and her male counterparts moved through the age groups together.  

But at 14, Wright was no longer permitted to play with the boys, and it wasn’t feasible for her family to travel to Nelson or Christchurch every weekend so she could play in girls’ grades. 

Her only other sporting option was netball – which she’d tried when she was younger and hadn’t enjoyed. But this time she had no choice. It wasn’t until a high school exchange to Canada in her final year she laced up a pair of boots again.  

“I was going to live in Canada having not played rugby for ages, so thought I’d try something new and play soccer,” Wright says. 

“But the school rugby coach said ‘You’re from New Zealand you’ll come and play rugby for us’.” 

Thanks to her coach’s foresight Wright was back where she belonged, and for the first time in her life playing in an all-girls’ rugby team. 

Molly Wright playing against Italy in the Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifying tournament. Photo: Getty Images

When she returned to New Zealand, she shifted to Dunedin to study a bachelor of physiotherapy at the University of Otago. Wright played for her hall of residence, Arana College, in her first year, and got her first taste of women’s rugby for the University team. 

She also made a positional switch from the midfield to hooker.  

“One of the coaches at University said I’d have a better shot in the front row,” Wright explains. “At the time it was a big technical change, and the mindset you have in the game is very different.” 

Higher honours soon beckoned - for Otago and then Canterbury in the women’s provincial championship, known today as the Farah Palmer Cup. 

Like many Kiwis in their 20s, Wright moved to London, courtesy of her Irish passport, and enjoyed travel and meeting new friends. 

But when her friends on two-year visas returned home, Wright shifted north to Scotland, in January 2017. 

An international career, though, nearly didn’t happen - Wright had to be pushed out the door of her flat to join a local rugby club.  

“Adult friends are hard to make, so I got a kick up the backside from one of my flatmates to go out and get back into rugby to meet some people,” she says. 

It turned out to be a fairly handy club who acquired her services, and Wright made an immediate impact as Watsonians reached the final of the Sarah Beaney Cup in 2018 – scoring one of her team’s two tries, albeit in a losing cause. 

Wright and Watsonians went one better in 2019, clinching the title at the famed Murrayfield Stadium; the Kiwi named player of the match. 

“Scotland is my home, but New Zealand is where I grew up and still a huge part of who I am."

After attending national training camps and serving the three-year residency period for eligibility, the call to play for Scotland finally came in January 2020, and Wright boarded a plane to Spain.  

“It was very surreal,” Wright recalls. “It was sunny and hot, the stadium was full with Spanish fans, who are class. It was Spain who knocked us out of our last World Cup qualification attempt, so that was always in the back of our minds.” 

Scotland ran in six tries and won, “and I managed to get a driving maul try, so it was a pretty epic experience.” 

Her debut in the Women’s Six Nations soon followed, coming off the bench against Ireland and England - before the Covid pandemic halted international sport. 

As a practising physiotherapist, Wright soon found a bigger purpose than rugby to see her through the uncertain times. She worked on the frontline for the NHS, aiding patients in their rehabilitation from the disease. 

Wright on her new home as part of the Scotland team. 

Rugby resumed for Scotland in October 2020, with a thrilling 13-13 draw against France in the Six Nations. However, the remaining two fixtures against Wales and Italy were cancelled as the pandemic flared up again. 

After two false starts, it wasn’t exactly a fairytale outing for Wright when the Six Nations started a new edition in April 2021. 

Wright came off the pine as Scotland lost 52-10 to their English counterparts, but she quickly found herself back on the sideline in the naughty chair after a high shot on England player Vickii Cornborough in the 64th minute. 

“You just get absolutely rinsed by your teammates, and at my first training back afterwards it was ‘Right Molly, you’re up first for tackle technique’,” she says. 

It took six months for Wright to serve her three-match ban – a downside to the irregularity of women’s rugby schedules. But she’d finally served her sentence when the team travelled to the Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe qualifier tournament in Italy, where they met Italy, Spain and Ireland.  

The winner progressed directly to RWC 2021, while the runner-up needed to contest the Final Qualification tournament at the beginning of 2022. 

After losing to Italy 13-38 in the opening match, and clung on in the last few minutes against Spain for a 27-22 win, to keep their hopes alive against the women from the Emerald Isle. 

“Had Ireland beaten us and got the bonus point for tries they would have gone through ahead of Italy,” Wright remembers. “We think maybe where they stumbled was looking for tries and not to win the game, and we stole it from them in the 81st minute.” 

Italy went through to RWC21, and Scotland went straight to the final of the Final Qualification tournament up against Colombia in Dubai in February.  

“They were a much lower ranked team than us, but that didn’t mean we didn’t take the match seriously,” Wright shares. “We had 80 minutes to empty the tank, but it was a very different level of stress to the tournament in Italy.” 

Their 59-3 shellacking ensured Scotland’s ticket to New Zealand – their first pinnacle event in 12 years. And 2022 was about to get even better for Scotland Women, a watershed year in their entire history.  

“For them to see a woman who’s going out and being successful in sport and that’s her job, is something totally different from the experience I had growing up.” 

In June, the national governing body announced its four-year strategy for women and girls rugby, including 36 players receiving financial support to train fulltime for 11 weeks in the run-up to RWC 2021. 

As the total investment by the Scottish Rugby Union climbs from £1.6m to £4.1m over the next 12 months, it includes the creation of 30 professional contracts, which Wright says is nothing short of life-changing. 

“Physio for me is a hugely emotionally draining job,” Wright reveals. “People come in and are in pain and want you to do something about it. So they offload their mental stuff on you while you’re trying to help them physically. 

“The emotional energy you have to put into somebody to help them get better is huge. I now don’t have to give that emotional energy to my patients, so I can put it into rugby or recovery or spending time with friends”. 

It’s one thing to receive the investment and professional contracts, but the willingness and desire by players to prove every penny is well spent will be a rippling undercurrent through the entire team. 

“Even without the funding it’s a privilege to come in and play sport at an international level, and it’s not something we take for granted because we’re only able to do it for a small window of our lives,” Wright says. 

“But to able to make that our job and push for us to be the best is going to be special. It feels like we have this opportunity, and we want to make the most of it so that you can see what investment will do for the game. If we can put in the performances off the back of that investment, that shows what it can do for subsequent years.” 

So how does it feel for an expat Kiwi to return to her homeland to represent a different country?  

“Scotland is my home, but New Zealand is where I grew up and still a huge part of who I am. So I’m excited to go back and play rugby there,” Wright says. “It’s the first time my parents will be able to come and watch me play a test match.” 

As well as the Black Ferns, Scotland are grouped with Wales and Australia, in what will be the first time many players will come up against opposition from the Southern Hemisphere.  

And rest assured the women in blue won’t be there to make up numbers. 

“At minimum we’re looking to make the quarter-finals, which means winning at least two games,” Wright reveals. 

“If we can win those first two games [Wales and Australia], anything can happen in the third and then in finals footy. 

“We’re a team that gets better as tournaments go on, so we need to be successful early to give ourselves that platform. We’d like to come in and ruffle some feathers because I don’t think much is expected of us.” 

It’s not just women and girls back in Scotland Wright is hoping to inspire with her and her team’s on field exploits over the coming months and years. 

The girl from Reefton remembers all too well what it was like to come from a small town and have access to fewer opportunities, or to look around and not see many other individuals from small towns succeeding globally. 

“As a player for Scotland, I’d like to leave the jersey in a better place than when I found it,” Wright states. “But coming from a small town there’s not a lot of opportunity you can see. 

“The fact that what we’re doing is becoming more visible will hopefully mean young girls and boys from those places can look to try and achieve big things. 

“For them to see a woman who’s going out and being successful in sport and that’s her job, is something totally different from the experience I had growing up.” 

Maia's 勇敢地回归 Wheel Blacks

Wheel Blacks 中唯一的女性,Maia Marshall-Amai 在大截肢手术后重返赛场,参加轮椅橄榄球世界冠军赛——决心实现她在巴黎残奥会上的最终目标。

在奥克兰医院呆了六个月后,在截肢了一半骨盆和一条腿后,医院工作人员问玛雅·马歇尔·阿迈,当她终于回家时,她想做的第一件事是什么。

她回答了一个字:火车。

“他们就像‘什么?你疯了!在你出去后可以做的所有事情中,你想去训练吗?'”Marshall-Amai 回忆道。 “我说:‘是的,这就是我想做的事’。我想再玩一次。”

多年来,Marshall-Amai 被尊为世界上最好的轮椅橄榄球女运动员。她是新西兰Wheel Blacks 队中唯一的女性,在全球范围内被视为这项运动中女性的开拓者。

但她在 2019 年完全停止了比赛。尽管她正处于实现梦想的风口浪尖——参加残奥会,但她的健康状况恶化迫使她做出了决定。

随后,她的骨盆严重感染导致进行了半骨盆切除术——切除半个骨盆和全部右腿的复杂手术。她将在医院度过充满挑战的六个月,“从护士和勤杂工到清洁工和厨师”,她都非常了解每个人。

Marshall-Amai 对长期住院并不陌生。她只有 18 个月大时,一场汽车大火使她身体大部分部位严重烧伤。从那时起,出现了并发症——脊髓感染使她瘫痪,她还失去了左腿。

去年年初,当她最近一次出院时,她有一个目标——重返轮黑队,希望能及时参加 8 月在东京举行的残奥会。

35 岁的 Marshall-Amai 说:“我努力让自己变得足够好去参加残奥会,但这并没有发生。”

相反,她在奥克兰东部的家中通过电视观看了这些奥运会的每一场比赛。 “当我在想,‘伙计,那应该是我——我应该在那里’时,很难看。看着他们,我有各种各样的情绪,”她说。

因此,Marshall-Amai 改变了她的注意力,回到 Wheel Blacks 参加下个月在丹麦举行的轮椅橄榄球世界锦标赛。通过努力工作,她自豪地实现了一个目标——在身体发生重大变化时恢复力量和平衡——痛苦和决心。

Maia Marshall-Amai 希望她能在两周内与更多的女性在世界冠军赛上交手。照片:盖蒂图片社。

2024 年巴黎残奥会是她名单上的下一个。 “残奥会一直是我的目标;他们是巅峰,”她说。

在许多方面,她的 Wheel Blacks 队友都为她的回归而激动不已。 “Maia 非常有弹性,”球队的联合教练 Rob Hewitt 说。“Wheel Blacks 的球队得到了巨大的提升,因为她知道她很健康并且回到了球队,准备好与世界上最好的球队混在一起。

“Maia 在新西兰享有盛誉,她可以在当天与任何人正面交锋。Maia 回归给 Wheel Blacks 带来了巨大的推动力,并为进入世界锦标赛提供了一些真正的 X 因素。 "

Marshall-Amai 承认很难适应她的“新身体”。

“只有半个骨盆和一个臀部,很难保持平衡并做所有对我来说通常很容易的事情,”她说。

“我现在做引体向上可能更轻松了——这是我唯一的优势。”

她每天都在训练,有时一天两次,以恢复她的健康和力量。 “但一切都很好,我喜欢所有的训练,”她说。 “当我在医院呆了这么久时,我非常想念它。”

Marshall-Amai 用她自己的话说是“一个非常害羞的人”,并且有一小群亲密的朋友和家人帮助她回到了现在。还有她在 Rope Neuro Rehabilitation 的神经生理学家 Harriet Otley,以及来自功能性适应性运动的她的 crossfit 教练 Michael Hynard(Marshall-Amai 将他称为“标签”)和 Jodie Loveday。她很感激他们所有人。

Maia Marshall-Amai(右)在新西兰轮椅橄榄球锦标赛的比赛中休息。照片:切尔西科尼。 

但当她在四月份参加她的第一个 Wheel Blacks 训练营时,Marshall-Amai 有点焦虑。

“这有点吓人,因为已经很久了,我想立刻变得很棒,”她说。 “这很艰难,但很高兴能和孩子们一起回来。我想念他们。”

没过多久,她就恢复了使她成为世界上最优秀之一的技能。在上个月的全国锦标赛中,Marshall-Amai 在锦标赛中被评为最佳 2.5(她的损伤分类),并与奥克兰犀牛队一起赢得了新西兰冠军。

她希望在世界锦标赛上,在分类器面前进行功能技能测试后,她的分类会降低。作为一名女性球员,她已经给了 Wheel Blacks 半分优势。

(场上的四名球员的总分不能超过八分;场上的每名女球员,允许一支球队比总分多出 0.5 分)。

Marshall-Amai 很高兴能和她的大多数老 Wheel Blacks 队友一起回来,回到丹麦,她在 2014 年参加了她的第一个世界锦标赛。

“这很艰难,那时我还很新鲜,”她回忆道。这场在 Vejle 市举行的锦标赛将是她的第三个世界。

在她的国际职业生涯中,Marshall-Amai 是新西兰队中唯一的女性。一个保持不变的事实。但她预计在 10 月 10 日比赛开始时,轮黑队将在国际比赛中遇到更多的女性对手。

“自从我缺席比赛以来,现在有更多的女性参加比赛。不是堆,但比我上次玩的时候多,”她说。

Wheel Black Maia Marshall-Amai 在伦敦举行的 2015 年世界轮椅橄榄球挑战赛上一试身手。照片:盖蒂图片社

她希望明年三月回到巴黎参加女子杯,这是一个专门为女性轮椅橄榄球运动员举办的会议。她第一次参加比赛是在 2017 年,与其他女选手一起训练和比赛。当然,这取决于她是否能找到资金。

但这是自 Marshall-Amai 上次上场以来发生了变化的一件事。她的世界锦标赛之旅由新西兰轮椅橄榄球(它为这项运动的各个方面自筹资金)。 “这是我第一次和新西兰队一起离开,我不用付一分钱,”她说。 

她不得不买一把新的 $15,000 橄榄球椅——敏捷但坚固,足以承受冲击,这项运动曾被称为谋杀球。

“我很幸运,这只是我职业生涯中的第三位主席,”Marshall-Amai 说。 “前两次,我确实捐了一点钱并筹款,但这次因为我的新伤,被 ACC 承保了。”

最后,球向着她的方向反弹。

她渴望再次参加国际比赛:“已经很久了……我和所有男孩都打过很多次。你会觉得有点无聊。当你与其他国家比赛时,它处于另一个层次。”

Wheel Blacks 在 2021 年残奥会上获得第八名,上一次获得世锦赛奖牌——银牌——还是在 2006 年。当时他们只有 11 岁 2018 年。

Marshall-Amai 说,在丹麦取得成功将是“击败我们应该击败的球队”,并且在个人层面上“尽我所能,并确保我做我需要做的事情来帮助球队”。

她将目光投向半个世界之外的另一场橄榄球世界锦标赛。 Marshall-Amai 是同时在新西兰举行的女子橄榄球世界杯的骄傲大使(她应该及时回家观看 11 月 12 日在伊甸公园举行的决赛)。

尽管她很害羞,Marshall-Amai 还是出现在了 一首强有力的口语诗的宣传视频 并在杂志上支持比赛。

“它们不是我平时喜欢做的事情;我有点脱离了我的舒适区,”她说。 “但任何促进女子橄榄球运动的事情——我都是这样的。”

新西兰女学生板球运动员征服世界

随着十几岁的板球运动员阿涅拉·阿珀利开始在比赛中留下自己的印记,她可能会在三个月内参加两届世界杯——从下个月的室内板球世界开始。艾登麦克劳克林报道。  

在高中的最后一年,才华横溢的霍克湾板球运动员阿涅拉·阿珀利(Aniela Apperley)去年夏天因持续下雨而被剥夺了为中央海因兹女子队出场的机会。

但现在她可以代表新西兰参加下个月在墨尔本举行的室内板球世界杯,那里的雨水不会影响比赛。

不久之后,她将代表她的国家参加户外世界锦标赛——在明年的首届 U19 T20 世界杯之前,她被认为是新西兰最有前途的年轻女子板球运动员之一。

刚满 18 岁的纳皮尔女子高中学生将成为自 1980 年代初以来霍克斯湾第三位代表新西兰参加室内板球比赛的女性。  

Apperley 是 10 月 8 日开始的世界杯入选的六名霍克斯湾板球运动员中唯一的女性。

尽管她在户外版本的比赛中加入了国家年龄组发展团队,但这只是她在小学学习板球后的第二个赛季。

“我想在冬天继续[板球],所以当机会来临时,我想我会尝试一下,”Apperley 说。 “它比我想象的要好得多。它速度更快,强度更高,我真的很喜欢。”

世界杯有四项比赛:公开女子和男子,以及U22女子和男子。

Apperley 的 U22 队由 Wellington Blaze 投球手 Xara Jetly 担任队长,而公开赛男子阵容包括前 Black Cap 和 Hawke's Bay 球员 Jesse Ryder,后者正在参加他的第二次室内板球世界杯。

竞争球队每队有 8 名球员,赛制为每队 16 轮,每名球员投两轮。游戏大约需要一个小时十分钟。

Aniela Apperley 很想参加今年夏天在南非举行的首届 U19 T20 世界杯。照片:玛戈特·布彻。 

与户外运动不同,室内板球是一项完全自筹资金的运动,即使在国际水平上也是如此。球员必须支付一切费用——包括他们的球队装备。

因此,纳皮尔的霍克湾室内板球俱乐部正试图筹集超过 $30,000 的资金,以使 Apperley 和他们的五名男球员能够前往澳大利亚。筹款活动包括智力竞赛之夜和拍卖,筹集了超过 $14,000,以及定期的 Lotto Bonus Ball 筹款活动。但在不到一个月的时间里,他们的筹款总额仍然不足。

作为一名成功的中长跑和越野跑者,Apperley 仍然参与田径运动,但现在主要是为了帮助她为她的主要爱好板球保持高水平的体能。

她的母亲 Zosia 和父亲 Craig 在她的板球之旅中一直支持她。这家人和阿珀利的哥哥马修一起住在黑斯廷斯。

Zosia 的父母出生在波兰,这也是 Aniela 这个名字的来源。

板球已成为家庭事务,多年来,她的祖父母和朋友带她参加比赛,以确保她可以尽可能多地参加比赛。阿珀利还特别指出霍克湾板球的女子教练克雷格罗斯对她的发展至关重要。

Apperley 在黑斯廷斯的 Parkvale 学校四年级时第一次拿起球棒。她是那年团队中唯一的女孩,用塑料球玩游戏。在六年级,她在她的一线队打了一个硬球。

“这很可怕。但是球队真的很有吸引力,所有的男孩都对我很好,所以这有助于我对比赛的热爱,”她说。

Apperley 在 Havelock North Intermediate 和 Napier Girls' High 继续她的板球比赛。她在 14 岁时首次在霍克斯湾参加了 Shrimpton Trophy,这是一项在上中区举行的跨省一日女子板球比赛。

在过去的几年里,她还参加了中央区 U19 队,并且是他们今年赢得新西兰 U19 锦标赛的关键球员。

然后她被召集到中央海因斯队,并且非常接近首次亮相。

“我们在板球世界杯期间让 White Ferns 离开,然后也受伤了,所以她将有机会首次亮相,”Central Hinds 教练 Jamie Watkins 说。

“不幸的是,[本赛季]的最后四场比赛完全下雨了。对她和我们来说,这可能比预期的要早一点,但我们所处的情况是,我们有信心她一定能够在那里站稳脚跟。”

作为一名右臂中速投球手,他也能够得分重要的跑动,Apperley 被中央区通过他们的年龄组系统确定。她也入选了国家发展队。

与白蕨保龄球手 Hannah Rowe、Rosemary Mair 和 Claudia Green 在 Hinds 一起,Apperley 正在寻求从他们的经验中学习。

除了为海因德队效力之外,明年年初在南非举行的首届女子 U19 T20 世界杯还有更多获得更高荣誉的机会。

原定于 2021 年举行,在被 Covid 推迟两次之前,这是一场 16 支球队的锦标赛,在南非女子 T20 世界杯前夕举行。

3 月份在林肯举行的新西兰 U19 女子发展比赛中,她为迪瓦恩 XII 队效力时,她的球给她留下了深刻的印象。 White Ferns wicketkeeper Izzy Gaze 在她的团队中。

在 CWC22 期间击球的 Sophie Devine 是 Aniela Apperley 仰慕的球员之一。照片:ICC 媒体。 

随着接下来几个月的学校考试,Apperley 不会急于决定她下个赛季及以后想做什么。

但随着新西兰板球和新西兰板球运动员协会之间的最新协议通过比赛费用向女性运动员提供更多资金,它为像阿珀利这样的年轻球员打开了一个新的机会之窗。  

“重要的是,当我们让球员进入系统时,我们要了解,他们在学校和青少年时期的自身发展方面还有很多事情要做,”沃特金斯说。 “因此,我们获得正确的平衡非常重要。

“有很多机会,但我们也不想匆匆忙忙。”

当被问及她崇拜哪些球员时,阿珀利列举了两名白蕨——同样来自霍克斯湾的 Mair 和新西兰队长 Sophie Devine。

“我喜欢她如此具有攻击性的击球手,”阿珀利谈到迪瓦恩时说。 “我们依靠她来解决问题,而她通常会这样做。”

由于 Devine 仍然表现出色,谁知道呢——也许有一天 Apperley 会穿上 White Ferns 衬衫站在她身边?

但在她不久的将来,她有望穿上银蕨横跨塔斯曼,努力让她的国家——以及她认识的每个人——感到自豪。

排球运动员在月经前后打破禁忌

在经历了令人印象深刻的美国大学排球生涯后,阿加莎·吉本斯正在汉密尔顿进行世界首创的研究,以帮助太平洋女运动员了解月经并避免 RED-S——开启我们关于太平洋女运动员回馈的系列。 

直到阿加莎·吉本斯开始研究 RED-S 的影响,她才意识到自己实际上是残酷医学综合症的受害者。

吉本斯一直在新墨西哥州的一所美国大学打排球,她很快发现这与她的斐济家乡相去甚远。

当她团队中的女孩公开谈论她们的经期并与教练(其中一些是男性)分享她们对月经周期的担忧时,她感到震惊。

她不知道自己没有吃足够的东西——或者正确的食物——来补充她作为一名运动员所消耗的所有能量。并且她的饮食是她在大二时遭受 ACL 撕裂的一个因素,这让她缺席了 9 个月。  

但是当吉本斯在攻读健康和体育科学硕士学位,并写一篇关于女运动员三合会的论文时,她把两个和两个放在一起。

“我意识到我训练得很刻苦,但我的营养很差,我错过了一些[时期]。这也导致我受伤,”她说。

“我意识到哇,一直以来,我对这一切都没有太多了解。如果我在高中就知道了,我会更好地了解如何正确饮食。”

阿加莎·吉本斯(左)成为 NCAA 排球孤星联盟中最好的中路拦截者之一。照片:提供

现在,吉本斯希望帮助年轻的太平洋女运动员从小就了解良好营养的重要性。她正在怀卡托大学攻读博士学位,研究太平洋女运动员的月经经验和知识——这是第一次探索这个领域。

这是一个几十年来一直沉默的话题——由于文化和宗教信仰,以及缺乏知识。 Gibbons 想更多地了解原因。

一路上发生了什么?

Gibbons 正在对新西兰和太平洋岛屿的女性进行一项调查,以更好地了解太平洋女运动员如何应对女运动员的健康问题。到目前为止,她已经收到了 170 多名运动员的消息,并在等待新西兰边境重新开放期间在斐济采访了 11 名运动员。

该调查询问女性的月经健康状况以及它如何影响她们的运动表现、她们的经期历史以及围绕月经的禁忌。

“我发现有些女运动员在第一次谈月经时感到非常羞愧和尴尬。一个人把它藏起来不让她妈妈知道,因为她很害怕,”吉本斯说。  

“在斐济,母亲和阿姨不鼓励女孩使用卫生棉条,这是另一种文化现象。所以,每个人都使用卫生巾。这也适用于我,直到我去了美国,我才被鼓励使用卫生棉条。”

另一位接受采访的斐济运动员吉本斯说,她的祖父母告诉她,一个女孩的第一次月经周期在他们那个时代是“庆祝活动”。  

“但他们不知道一路上发生了什么,”吉本斯说。 “你会认为西化会使它成为一个更容易谈论的话题。但相反,它成了一个禁忌话题。”

Gibbons 博士研究的首席导师 Holly Thorpe 教授称这项工作为世界首创。

“近年来,我们看到了以女性运动员健康,尤其是月经健康为重点的运动科学研究热潮。虽然很高兴看到,但大多数这项研究都是由白人女性使用所有白人运动员样本进行的,但随后这些研究结果被推广到所有女运动员身上,”她说。  

“阿加莎的研究是开创性的,因为她优先考虑太平洋女性在运动中对月经的了解。她正在将体育科学与太平洋方法学结合起来,在这个关键的交叉路口开展工作。”

索普希望 Gibbon 的研究将为更多本土和太平洋体育科学研究人员在原本非常西方和科学化的运动科学和运动医学领域“探索文化认知方式的空间”铺平道路。

“有了这些知识,体育组织可以找到新的策略,以符合其文化的方式来支持他们的太平洋女运动员,而不是期望她们在进入精英体育环境时将文化拒之门外,”索普说。

打破禁忌

吉本斯在苏瓦长大,在那里她上小学和高中并参加了很多运动。在她大四的时候,她接受了在美国提供的全程排球奖学金。

“这是一次彻底的文化冲击,”她说。 “我从未离开过这个国家,也从未离开过我的父母,我去了以外星人而闻名的罗斯威尔新墨西哥军事学院。我从住在海边变成了住在沙漠里。”

但这并没有让她放弃比赛。她 1.85m 的身高和力量使她成为一名出色的中路拦截者。她在 NMMI 赢得了年度最佳女运动员,并在那里以及当她转移到新墨西哥州东部的 NCAA 学院时,她都成为了全会议队,在那里她完成了 100 多个盖帽。  

阿加莎·吉本斯(4 号)希望最终为斐济国家排球队效力。照片:提供。 

在大学系统中打球和执教七年,吉本斯努力成为最好的——但这是有代价的。

“作为一个在岛上的孩子,你玩运动是为了好玩,没有人把它当回事,直到你达到一定的水平,然后他们才会谈论饮食。但他们不谈论女性的健康,或营养的影响,”她说。

“斐济的学校课程中没有任何内容。当我发现女运动员三合会的时候,我这辈子都没听说过。”

1992 年,美国运动医学学院创建了“女运动员三元组”一词,用于描述女运动员的骨矿物质流失、饮食失调和月经不调之间的相互关系。 2014 年,国际奥委会将其更名为 RED-S,即运动中的相对能量不足。

这是一种综合症,令人担忧的是, 影响越来越多的女运动员。  

上大学后,吉本斯对公开谈论月经的话题感到惊讶。 “当我的队友们讨论这件事时,我觉得很奇怪。他们会说:'我想我迟到了',他们会与主教练讨论,她可能会将他们转介给医生,”她说。

“我意识到在家里我们没有那种讨论;我们从不谈论月经健康——尤其是与男性教练。在美国,运动员从高中到大学,他们吃得健康,训练刻苦,一切都照章办事。但我们没有。

“所以我开始慢慢了解它。”

当她接受膝盖手术后正在接受康复治疗时,这位运动教练将营养的重要性推给了吉本斯。 “这是我的第二年,我仍在努力弄清楚自己。所以我说我会吃得更健康,”她说。 

但这并不总是那么简单。 “在暑假,我们会得到营养计划,但我从来没有遵循过,因为当我回家时,我无法得到他们计划中的食物......我们在斐济没有西兰花。”

回家上课

吉本斯获得了刑事司法学士学位,并想成为一名侦探。但后来她转向运动健康为她的大师,并遇到了关于女运动员三合会或 RED-S 的论文。

“我想为我的论文找到数据,但我发现没有太多关于太平洋女运动员的研究。我很震惊,也很沮丧。我不得不从世界其他地方进行研究,”她说。 “我也意识到很多文章没有考虑到文化。”

现在拿到博士学位,Gibbons 的三年研究项目由怀卡托大学和 Orreco 共同资助,Orreco 是一家专注于女运动员研究的硅谷体育科学和研究公司。 High Performance Sport NZ 也提供支持。

“完成后,我想回家,回到基层,为教练和运动员举办关于女运动员健康重要性的研讨会,”吉本斯说。 “我希望在太平洋岛国的学校里教授它,让女孩们了解营养和月经健康的重要性。”

Holly Thorpe 教授迫不及待地想看看 Gibbons 的研究结果。照片:提供。 

被公认为女性运动员健康领域的世界领导者的索普说,吉本斯拥有一支强大的体育科学家和太平洋研究专家团队支持她,其中包括怀卡托大学太平洋助理副校长 Keakaokawai Verner Hemi 教授和 HSPNZ 表演总监健康,布鲁斯·汉密尔顿博士。

“这种体育科学和文化知识的合作是体育研究的前沿,这个项目由一名太平洋运动员和研究人员领导,与太平洋女运动员一起并为太平洋女运动员领导,这一点非常重要,”索普说。 “我想不出更好的人来领导这个项目,而且我知道 Agatha 会通过这项研究做出令人惊奇的事情。”

与此同时,吉本斯在一场车祸后正在好转,她搁置了今年夏天重返排球场的计划。

她希望最终有机会为国家排球队斐济库拉威效力。由于她的大学生涯,她总是不得不拒绝邀请。

“太平洋运动会明年将在所罗门群岛举行,我想试一试,”她说。 “我也可以去那里采访女运动员。我在不同岛国联系过的所有体育组织都认为这是一个非常好的话题,他们以前从未有研究人员接触过他们。是兴奋的。”

Portia 是否处于 GOAT 状态的边缘?

尝试得分导弹 Portia Woodman 已经是伟大的 Black Ferns 之一 - 但本届橄榄球世界杯可以将她提升到顶峰。吉姆·凯斯报告说,然后她还有更多要付出的。 

两届世界冠军梅洛迪·罗宾逊 (Melodie Robinson) 表示,波西亚·伍德曼 (Portia Woodman) 已经是有史以来最伟大的黑蕨之一,而且可能还会被加冕为有史以来最好的。

“她绝对是 Black Ferns 拥有的最好的侧翼,”Robinson 说,“而且领先于 Vanessa Cootes 和 Louisa Wall,所以这说明了一些事情。”

罗宾逊参加了 18 次测试,之后在广播和橄榄球评论方面取得了成功,他将伍德曼评为仅次于 Anna Richards、Farah Palmer 和 Fi'aoo Fa'amausili 的第四大黑蕨。

“他们都是传奇人物,但波西亚仍在比赛,所以想象一下她还能取得什么成就,”罗宾逊说。

周六,伍德曼确实引起了人们的注意,她在经历了七人制的沉重饮食后回到了国家 XV 队,几乎没有错过一步,在伊甸公园以 95-12 击败日本队的比赛中获得了 7 次尝试。

“我没有看到那种表现,”Black Ferns 教练韦恩史密斯谈到伍德曼的伊甸园拖运时说。

“她是球队的新成员,在日本比赛之前,她一直在努力应对所有新系统。我想我必须要有耐心。我想,‘她是世界级的运动员,她最终会做对的’——但她很快就做对了。”

在橄榄球世界杯之前,Black Ferns 翼着 Portia Woodman 前往她对日本的七次尝试之一。照片:盖蒂图片社。

她上周六的七次尝试是黑蕨在测试中的第三高尝试得分,仅次于她在上届世界杯上对阵香港的八次以及库特斯在 1996 年的九次尝试。

伍德曼在 20 次测试中进行了 31 次尝试,与全黑队 Doug Howlett、Christian Cullen、Joe Rokocoko 和 Julian Savea 的成绩相当,他们也进行了“软”测试来支持他们的数字。

她还没有乔纳·洛穆(Jonah Lomu)在 1995 年南非世界杯上获得的国际声誉,但下个月在新西兰举行的锦标赛——从 10 月 8 日在伊甸公园开始——可能会让伍德曼在女子比赛中脱颖而出。

“她是一个超级明星,”史密斯承认,但他很快就证明了这一点。 “她是众多超级巨星之一。我不喜欢单打独斗,尤其是因为我们这支球队中有一些非常出色的球员——她就是其中之一。”

作为全黑队的女儿,伍德曼是一位才华横溢的短跑运动员,后来是一名为北方神秘队效力的投球手,现在是一名橄榄球运动员。她克服了逆境和伤害,是奥运冠军,也是一个有吸引力的人聊天。

她也是一个了不起的橄榄球运动员。

John Kirwan 爵士将她(在 2018 年 10 月跟腱断裂之前)评为游戏中最好的侧翼——无论是男性还是女性。

史密斯也是黑蕨队的新手,他承认他不太了解伍德曼:“我可能更了解她的父亲,因为我和卡法尼亚一起打球。”

但从他所见,他印象深刻——尤其是她的诚实和自力更生。

伍德曼在场外和在场上一样优雅。她在七人制巡回赛上非常受欢迎,她友好的性格赢得了球迷、球员和官员的青睐。

不难看出为什么。上周,当她在奥克兰接受媒体采访时,她既谦逊又充满热情地谈论她的职业生涯、代表她的国家和在家踢球。

上周末,黑蕨在伊甸公园横扫日本期间,波西亚伍德曼第六次尝试的镜头。 

对于这位 31 岁的年轻人来说,为 Whangārei 的 Black Ferns 效力尤其特别,他在奥克兰的 Mt Albert Grammar 接受教育,住在 Mt Maunganui,但来自凯科赫。

伍德曼的父亲卡法纳和弗雷德叔叔拥有 Ngāpuhi 血统,和她一样为北国效力。

“在璜加雷打球的潜力是我职业生涯中最大的亮点之一。在奥卡拉公园代表我的国家会非常酷,”伍德曼说。

她还谈到了重返 XVs 的挑战、队友的支持以及能够依靠他们和 她的妻子蕾妮·威克克里夫(Renee Wickcliffe),经过 44 次测试的封顶机翼 谁也在世界杯阵容中。

当被问及七人制明星是否也能继续打 XVs 时,伍德曼给出了由衷的回应。

“我想说是的,但老实说,这两个项目都变得更加专业了,”这位女性在过去十年中获得了世界七人制球员的称号。 “XVs 每年都会有更多的比赛,并且有一个新的女孩,从七人制过渡到 XVs,这将是相当困难的。

“我已经有一段时间了,即便如此,有这么多新系统,这有点困难。所以我想说是的,但谁知道呢。”

由两部分组成的 doco,The Black Ferns - Wāhine Toa,将于周四晚上 8 点 30 分在 Prime 上首映。

至于她自己的事业,伍德曼意识到地平线越来越近了,但她还没有结束。她赢得了 XVs 世界杯,在里约奥运会上获得银牌,在东京获得金牌,今年在伯明翰获得英联邦运动会铜牌。

就在几周前,她还在七人制球队中,在开普敦举行的世界杯上仅次于澳大利亚获得第二名。

2024 年的巴黎奥运会似乎是一个合理的目标,但即使对于像伍德曼这样才华横溢的人来说,另一场 XVs 世界杯也可能是一座遥不可及的桥梁。

“我不会这么说,因为我错过了两年的伤病和两年的新冠肺炎,”她说,“所以可以肯定的是,我已经积累了几年的时间,我可以坚持到最后。我们将看看这场 [橄榄球世界杯] 的进展如何。”

橄榄球世界杯冠军去了狗

赢得 2002 年橄榄球世界杯的黑蕨队的明星莫妮克·希罗瓦纳现在以训犬员的身份保卫我们的边界。这位爆炸性的中卫告诉亚当朱利安,在本届世界杯之前,比赛发生了多大的变化。 

Monique Hirovanaa 在她那个时代的橄榄球非常出色,她被布勒男队邀请为战斗省效力。

在 1998 年和 2002 年两度赢得世界杯冠军,黑蕨在 2002 年被正式评为世界杯球员.

如今,冠军中卫是奥克兰机场初级产业部的一名侦查犬管理员,她自 2015 年以来一直担任该职位。管理犬只和前锋有什么区别?

“永远不要与动物或儿童一起工作,” Hirovanaa 笑着说。

“你必须用你的声音,保持镇定,教育人们,而不是教他们。

“在橄榄球比赛中,中卫只和他们的前锋一样好。这在工作中也是类似的:一个军官和他们的狗一样好。 Nimbus是一只新狗。他出生于2019年,并被公众命名。他喜欢找肉类食品,尤其是鸡肉,他有点疯狂——所以我必须让其他警官来处理。”

Monique Hirovanaa 和她的探测犬 Nimbus 一起工作。照片:提供。

Hirovanaa 于 1991 年开始打橄榄球,曾代表奥克兰参加篮球、无挡板篮球和触球比赛。

最初,她作为一名后卫很难应付。第一次正式批准的新西兰女子橄榄球巡回赛是 1994 年在澳大利亚举行的。希罗瓦纳是一名来自后卫的毁灭性新秀。

她在对阵 ACT 的首场比赛中得分四次,并且在 37-0 大袋狼队的比赛中表现出色,一次尝试得分并建立了另外三个。

Hirovanaa 于 1995 年转为中卫。Black Ferns 以 64-0 击败了澳大利亚,这是他们在 Waitematā 进行的那个赛季的唯一一次考验。 Hirovanaa 是如此充满活力和令人眼花缭乱,第二年,现任中卫和世界橄榄球名人堂的入选者 Anna Richards 被转移到前五名。

从 1996 年到 2002 年,希罗瓦纳和理查兹在测试中搭档 22 次,取得 21 场胜利——平均成绩为 57-5。黑蕨有九次让他们的对手一分未得。

“我是一个爆发力强的球员,有点全能。我不是要吹我自己的小号,但我可以踢,传球和跑。我认为我作为后卫的时间帮助我提高了技能水平,”Hirovanaa 说。

“安娜真的什么都擅长。她对比赛的理解如此之好,这就变成了一个例子,‘当你可以有两名球员时,为什么还要在球场上拥有一名优秀的球员?”

Kendra Cocksedge,有史以来最多封顶的黑蕨,是当代最具统治力的球员。 Hirovanaa 认为她的方法与 Canterbury 中卫完全不同。

“我有自己的风格,更直观,而 [Cocksedge] 则与 Fiao'o Fa'amausili 一起经历并成长为一名伟大的战术家和领导者。

“我今天对比赛有点兴趣。和我玩的时候相比,变化太大了。他们现在得到报酬,所以他们必须对自己的表现负责。他们仍然出于对比赛的热爱而比赛,但是当您成为众人瞩目的焦点时,您可以获得最高的权利。没有你的俱乐部和根,你哪儿也去不了。

“我不想太消极,但去年观看巡回赛真的很难。我认为他们现在正朝着更好的方向前进。”

Hirovanaa 不能被描述为有资格。她每周训练六天,而且经常和男人一起训练。

“在马里斯特的决赛时间,我们曾经与 85 公斤以下的选手比赛。我们将与他们一起进行混战并进行后防线移动。男人比女人更快更强壮,所以你必须适应并找到另一种成功的方式,而不是在身体上击败他们。”

Monique Hirovanaa(左)从 Gill Burns 获得 2003 年世界女子橄榄球年度最佳球员。照片:盖蒂图片社。

Hirovanaa 与 Marist 七次赢得奥克兰高级俱乐部冠军。于是在1999年,布勒男子代表队在全国人大三赛区的八场比赛全败。教练伯尼米勒游说新西兰橄榄球队尝试将 Hirovanaa 纳入球队。

“如果允许的话,我会玩的,” Hirovanaa 笑着说。

“女人和男人比赛并不是女人打败男人。这是关于挑战自己和避免自满,这是一直扮演女性所不允许的。”

2002 年,Hirovanaa 的辛勤工作得到了回报。黑蕨牺牲了培根、鸡蛋、咖啡、巧克力、酒精,并遵守严格的宵禁来保卫世界杯。他们在决赛中以 19-9 击败英格兰队,扭转了一年前的惨败。

Rugby News 报道:“Hirovanaa 在一场明星表演中全力以赴,当她从 ruck 沿边线 25 米处疾驰而过时,她在一次漂亮的尝试中得分,然后在从边线跑出 20m 处切入后为 Cheryl Waaka 设置了另一个。 Hirovanaa 还用巧妙的、位置合理的高踢球让英格兰队牢牢地守在防守上,她指挥前锋进行了几次刺痛、冗长的滚动打击。”

Hirovanaa 记得那场比赛给她带来的压力。

“有人告诉我,我很幸运能得到这场比赛。教练们觉得我没有达到最佳状态,但我知道这是我的最后一场比赛,所以我只想出去打球,”她说。

“我不记得我的很多比赛,因为我当时就在场。但我记得传给谢丽尔的传球和最后的解脱。但老实说,其中很多都是模糊的。”

Hirovanaa 必须在机场轮班工作中保持清醒的头脑。疫情前,奥克兰机场每天从 45 个目的地运营 140 趟国际航班。在大流行最严重的时期,她从事边境安全工作并协助后勤工作。

她将于 10 月 8 日在伊甸公园参加与澳大利亚的黑蕨世界杯首场比赛。她参加了 24 次测试并取得了 13 次尝试,但这些数字并不能说明她的影响力。

1997 年,英格兰作为卫冕世界冠军和 37 项测试中的 35 项获胜者抵达基督城。在一场传奇的比赛中,新西兰队在单场测试中以 67-0 击败了英格兰队——希罗瓦纳三分出手。

一段时间后,Black Ferns 选择者和教练 Vicky Dombroski 遇到了已故的伊丽莎白二世女王,她无法从她的脑海中删除这个结果。

Dombroski 回忆道:“我被邀请参加政府大楼的一个活动,虽然不是要人,但不知怎的,我最终会见了总督和女王。”女王问我做了什么,我告诉她我是新西兰女子橄榄球教练。她进一步询问,“英格兰有球队吗?”我想都没想就回答说,‘是的,我们踢了你的屁股。’”

她现在在哪儿?帕特·巴维克

在他为 LockerRoom 写的最后一个故事中,已故的大卫莱加特与前黑棍队队长兼教练帕特巴维克交谈,他继续回馈曲棍球的每一个部分,即使在她“退休”时也是如此。

帕特·巴维克 (Pat Barwick) 声称新西兰的体育名声在这个国家几乎没有(如果有的话)任何代码的队长可以匹敌。

从 1971 年她的第一个冰球国脚开始,巴威克一直担任新西兰队长,她一直担任新西兰队长,直到她最后几场比赛——在九年后莫斯科奥运会被抵制后退休。

如果能详细说明巴威克参加了多少国际比赛,那就太好了。遗憾的是,新西兰曲棍球在过去 25 年之后没有详细记录。然而,巴威克怀疑她在国际比赛中的出场次数达到了 90 年代中期,“但那时我们并没有真正计算过累积比赛,”她说。 “老实说,我不是统计员。”

在首次亮相时担任国家队队长是非常不寻常的。 Barwick 于 2013 年获得 MNZM 奖,今年因对曲棍球的出色服务而获得了享有盛誉的巴基斯坦奖杯,关于她从一开始就获得船长工作的方式和原因有两种理论。

“我当时 24 岁,除了在新西兰大学队效力过一次外,我没有任何队长经验。我打中前卫,或者有点右前卫,我个人认为这几乎是位置,”她说。

“你在球场中间,你有机会与每个人交谈。也许我确实表现出了一些领导能力——或者我只是专横。”巴维克笑了。

但也许还有另一个值得考虑的因素。

Pat Barwick 从当时的总督 Jerry Mateparae 爵士手中接过她的新西兰功勋勋章。照片:政府大楼。 

巴维克在旺格努伊西北 11 公里处的不伦瑞克家庭农场出生和长大。她是六个兄弟姐妹中的一个,正如她所说,孩子们都被期望参与进来,并且在一定程度上能够自给自足。

您还怀疑这是一种“拉起袖子继续前进”的生活方式;不吹不黑。

“因为你被要求在农场工作,我们的父母会让我们继续工作,他们相信我们有责任心,”巴威克说。

“我喜欢人,喜欢和人一起工作,一旦我开始教物理,我就很习惯在运动环境中和人一起跑来跑去。

“也许我很幸运,我的性格适合很多不同的人。我想我和各行各业的人一起工作很愉快,所以这对我来说可能很自然。''

不伦瑞克学校有 32 名孩子,巴威克最初在那里学习打网球和无挡板篮球。

“在我和爸爸一起去旺格努伊的库克花园观看印第安人比赛之前,我从来没有看过曲棍球,”她说。 1955 年的那一天,印度流浪者队以 12-2 击败了旺加努伊。

“我们很幸运能成为喜欢运动的孩子,我们进行了很多体育比赛和活动,帮助发展身体、敏捷性、平衡性和协调性。我骑着我的小马去学校,在草坪上做体操。没有校际或俱乐部比赛——我们只在一个冬季和夏季运动会上与另一所乡村学校比赛。”

帕特·巴维克 (Pat Barwick) 跑出去防守点球角的为数不多的颗粒状照片之一,是从她的比赛日开始的。照片:提供。 

巴威克在旺格努伊女子学院的第一年打网球,但有朋友在打曲棍球。她在赛季末的比赛中尝试过,但由于是左撇子,一开始她觉得这是一个挑战。

“我不知道我要去哪里,但我到处跑,当我回到家时,显然我的评论是它更有趣,因为你可以在任何地方跑步。”

进步很快,Barwick 在中六(12 年级)时加入了 Wanganui 高级代表团队。然后去奥塔哥学习了三年的大学体育教育文凭(当时她加入了新西兰大学团队)。

从那里到霍克斯湾和她在威廉科伦索学院的第一份教学工作——这也是她在曲棍球方面向前迈出的重要一步。

她遇到了曲棍球传奇人物汤姆·特比特,他是霍克斯湾的教练。 Turbitt 听起来有点像创新者,他是 Barwick 的第一位引入有氧训练的教练。

“他是第一个将健身作为新西兰女子曲棍球关键方面的人。他从一开始就教会了我很多东西,我认为我第一次适合打球,”她说。

在霍克斯湾待了四年后,她于 1971 年前往基督城,此后她一直待在那里。 “我已经变成了一个独眼红黑的人,”她笑着说。

那是她在新西兰队的第一年。

1973 年,帕特·巴维克(右二)和新西兰队在前往阿姆斯特丹 IFWHA 世界杯的途中。照片:TheNZTeam.com

那是漫长的海外旅行的日子,新西兰是一个值得的顶级国际球队。现在回想起来很奇怪,但巴威克直到最后一年才输给荷兰或澳大利亚——现在是女子比赛的强队之一。

这说明了当时新西兰比赛的实力。 “在这十年的大部分时间里,我们都处于前三名,”巴威克说。

毫无疑问,她的职业生涯中最精彩的比赛是 1977 年以 1-0 战胜英格兰的比赛,当时温布利球场有超过 60,000 名球迷。

射手是她的好朋友珍妮·麦克唐纳(Jenny McDonald),她仍然是新西兰体育名人堂中唯一的个人曲棍球运动员,与 1976 年男子奥运会冠军并列。

“和我一起打过球的最好的球员,”巴威克这样评价麦克唐纳,麦克唐纳在她之后担任新西兰队长。 “太棒了,技术娴熟,绝对是进球的本能。她似乎总是知道目标在哪里。她可以打任何十年,而且会很棒。

巴维克职业生涯的最低点指日可待。制服在橱柜里,计划在三周后出发,为 1980 年的莫斯科奥运会做准备……然后是美国领导的西方抵制俄罗斯入侵阿富汗的行动。

“那是一段相当令人失望的时光。这看起来很可能会发生,在那十年的大部分时间里,我们中有五六个人一直在团队中,并且进展顺利。这是首届女子奥运会,”她说。 “我们有一个非常好的团队。”

新西兰女子曲棍球队没有参加被抵制的 1980 年莫斯科奥运会的重聚。照片:新西兰奥委会/盖蒂

尽管几年前新西兰奥委会组织的一次重聚揭示了这一点,但巴威克现在已经结束了这段经历。

“你不能永远为此苦恼,我当然没有——但我知道有些人有。我以为你不能一辈子忍受这种情况,”她说。

所以巴威克退役并直接执教坎特伯雷 - 带领全省连续五次获得全国冠军和两次前六名冠军。

她帮助韦恩博伊德担任国家教练助理——在 1986 年世界杯上带领新西兰队获得第四名——之后于 1987 年接任主教练,她担任了五年的职务。

从新西兰球员和队长到教练的转变比她预期的要容易。博伊德的指导很有帮助,此外,巴维克反映了“我的背景经历和体育教学让我有信心成为那个级别的教练”。  

当 FIH 没有邀请新西兰参加 1988 年首尔奥运会时,巴威克再次对奥运会感到失望:“他们认为我们没有一支有能力的球队。”

她带领新西兰队参加了 1990 年世界杯,在那里他们获得了第七名,然后是 1992 年在巴塞罗那举行的奥运会。黑棍队寄予厚望——在奥克兰的奥运会预选赛中获得第二名——巴塞罗那的奖牌可能会出现。

但是新西兰队准备不足,当世界其他地方打了很多预备比赛时,新西兰队已经落后了。 “当我们到达欧洲时,我们意识到我们没有做好充分的准备,”巴威克说。他们没有赢得一场比赛,在八场比赛中获得第八名。

“真的很热——一场噩梦。我们无法应付高温,而且越来越疲惫。” 

黑棒教练帕特·巴维克登上 1992 年教练杂志的封面。照片:TheNZTeam.com

巴维克在巴塞罗那之后下台。 “这是一个巨大的承诺,我不得不离开帕帕努伊高中的教学来做这件事,”她说。

在新西兰工作之初,她曾做过两份全职工作(当然,只有一份报酬),几乎每个周末都出差与球员保持联系。 “我喜欢它,但那是一个非常不同的世界。”

曲棍球——和教练——从未松开对她的控制。她现在被公认为全国领先的教练专家之一,在所有代码中。

当她今年被授予享有盛誉的巴基斯坦奖杯时,她的奖状上写着:“她的成就和贡献多年来一直非常出色,尤其是在过去的 12 个月里。”

Barwick 继续与坎特伯雷、新西兰曲棍球和她的俱乐部 Carlton Redcliffs 合作,以引进更多年轻教练和球员。她喜欢与 Sport NZ 合作,通过 Coach Developer 计划开发一种新的教练方式。 

“这是关于指导和帮助人们更好地做自己。我喜欢看到人们成长为教练——而不是让你成为我的克隆人,”巴威克说。 “这完全适用于体育法规。在“影响力教练”计划中的指导也很棒。

“这是我的激情所在——指导人们的整个领域以及互动和领导力的心理。”

为黑棍队效力和执教的三名霍克斯湾女性:(左起)帕特·巴维克、雪莉·艾迪和玛格丽特·希哈。照片:NZME。

在 1992 年成为整个新西兰奥运代表队中唯一的女性主教练之后,巴威克一直大力倡导培养女教练,支持曲棍球新西兰的女性教练计划,并帮助创建他们的国家社区教练计划。 

“我喜欢能够提供帮助。我有点退休了——但我称之为重新调整,”现年 75 岁的巴维克说。她也喜欢在花园里度过奇怪的一天。 “我会尽我所能或想做的,但我可以说‘不’。”

当她回顾自己职业生涯中最令人满意的事情时,就是与与她一起踢球和执教过的人会面,他们谈论他们在她的团队中获得的乐趣。

“他们说他们度过了一段美好的时光,也经历了一段艰难、竞争和充满挑战的时光。而且它总是很有趣,这对我来说强调了体育应该是什么,”她说。 “这就是我的快乐。”

* 尊敬的体育记者 David Leggat 几乎完成了这个故事,当时 他上个月在意大利突然去世.在他出色的笔记、转录和要点的帮助下——以及帕特·巴维克的协助——我们能够为他完成这个故事。 LockerRoom 非常感谢 Leggat 家人帮助确保他的最后一篇文章得以出版。 

弱阳光系列打造银蕨热点

最终目标是捍卫明年的无挡板篮球世界杯,银蕨能从与牙买加的令人沮丧的系列赛中得到什么?谁愿意与澳大利亚比赛?梅林安德森报道。

这不是 Silver Ferns 所希望的激烈、竞争性的系列赛,但是当他们转向下一个挑战,澳大利亚时,针对耗尽的牙买加的两次测试增加了 Ferns 营地内部的竞争。

Silver Ferns 教练 Dame Noeline Taurua 现在面临两难境地,上个月英联邦运动会没有出线的球员在过去两天被解雇。他们渴望在不到三周的时间内保住他们在星座杯中的位置,并在 10 个月的时间内留在那里参加无挡板篮球世界杯。   

像 Mila Reuelu-Buchanan 这样的球员,她在周三仅第二次穿着黑色礼服出场,但在昨晚的泰尼贾米森奖杯系列赛的第二次测试中,她在侧翼进攻中获得了全场比赛。还有 Elle Temu,她首次亮相并展示了在防守圈与 Kelly Jury 建立潜在的获胜伙伴关系的开始。 

队长 Ameliaranne Ekenasio 的回归对于 Ferns 球迷和 Taurua 来说是一个受欢迎的景象。从她 18 个月前离开的地方开始,在两次测试中,除了一次柔滑流畅的远距离射门之外,所有其他射门都击中了目标,并加强了她与 Maia Wilson 的联系,并在射击圈与 Grace Nweke 建立了新的联系。

显然,Taurua 会更喜欢他们六周前从牙买加队获得英联邦运动会银牌的激烈竞争——因为银蕨队在昨晚的第二场比赛中以 75-35 领先,他们以 70-45 获胜前一天晚上。 

是的,蕨类植物本来可以更加一致,并且在收尾时更加清晰。但是 Taurua 仍然对她从比预期更长的训练时间和两次测试中得到的结果感到满意,因为它看起来有一段时间好像没有任何东西。 

她说,这是一个很好的垫脚石,对于下个月蕨类队与新成立的英联邦运动会冠军进行的四次测试。 “我们准备好迎接澳大利亚了,”陶鲁阿说。 

“让我们与澳大利亚比赛,然后我们将真正知道我们是由什么组成的,这很令人兴奋。以这种方式接受挑战很酷。”

经常是蕨类队的问题区域,射手们都有一个精彩的系列赛——两场比赛的投篮命中率分别为 91% 和 96%。事实上,他们昨晚只错过了三次射门。 Nweke在射门的第一次测试中脱颖而出,但创造了一个更加灵活的圈子的威尔逊昨晚下半场以31分的30分令人印象深刻。

但这还没有牙买加的沙梅拉·斯特林(Shamera Sterling)的巨大压力,她是世界顶级后卫之一,他让蕨类队的射手在伯明翰动摇了。 

格蕾丝·恩韦克昨晚在蕨类队以 75-35 战胜牙买加的比赛中两节 26 投 25 中。照片:盖蒂图片社。 

一场三场比赛的系列赛本来可以为 Silver Ferns 在明年的无挡板篮球世界杯之旅中做完美的准备,但牙买加人的一系列看似永无止境的问题却导致了一场平淡无奇的系列赛。

没有像斯特林和詹妮尔·福勒这样的明星球员,他们来到这里时只有七名球员,他们最终连续打满全场。到昨晚的下半场,他们被银蕨队打得衣衫褴褛,他们充分利用了他们的换人。

Taurua 说,在第一次测试之后,如果新西兰处于那个位置,他们就不会参加比赛。 “球员的福利真的很重要,不仅仅是对外面的七个人。还要承认旅行,所以总会有一种疲劳因素进入其中,”她说。 

World Netball 宣布他们将对系列赛进行全面调查,并关注牙买加为何无法在新西兰组建一支完整的球队。 “为了保护他们的球员,需要向无板篮球牙买加询问这些事情,但我认为对于世界无板篮球和我们想要在球场上推出的产品也是如此,”陶鲁亚说。 “我们是一项合法的运动,我们在场上和场下都很专业。”

但是这个系列赛仍然是蕨类队建立组合的机会,尤其是在没有经验丰富的香农·桑德斯和吉娜·克兰普顿的中场。这也是 Temu、Reuelu-Buchanan 和 Maddy Gordon 第一次遇到独特的加勒比海风格的比赛。 

“与[牙买加]球员无关,他们仍然以相同的方式和相同的风格打球,”陶鲁亚说,意识到在英联邦运动会上,蕨类队花了很长时间才能适应阳光女孩的比赛风格。 

2023 年无挡板篮球世界杯只进行了 10 天,蕨类队需要练习以紧缩的转身来支持他们的表现。 

好的

一个明显的亮点是看到 Temu 在第一次测试中首次亮相,并在球门防守中打满了 60 分钟。在奏国歌时,她脸上流下的泪水证明了这一刻对这位 24 岁的球员来说意义重大,她以两次拦截和两次得分结束了比赛,同时还在中场提供了支持。 

她继续建立自己的声誉,在第二次测试中获得开始,并与陪审团一起打了 30 分钟。 

她说,Ekenasio 在生下第二个孩子后,重返国际网球界,她的身体很好地承受了压力。她在第一场比赛中的七次出手命中率达到了 100%,第二场比赛在四分之三的时间内 17 次出手 16 次。 

她与年轻的 Nweke 的新组合很强大,她又回到了与威尔逊的节奏。 

“由于格蕾丝在后面是这样的武器,而梅尔斯 [Ekenasio] 在她的射门和音量方面是一种武器,它仍在寻找立足点。这种组合正在增长,”教练陶鲁亚说。 “即使有改变也非常好——随着 Maia [Wilson] 的出现,它为我们提供了一个移动的圆圈,我们可以获得更快的速度。” 

麦迪·戈登在第一场比赛中担任边路进攻,表现出她有信心将球传给后卫Nweke的目标; Reulu-Buchanan 在第二场比赛中充满信心。 

Reulu-Buchanan 昨晚以最多的中锋传球、送球和进球助攻完成了整场比赛。在明年的边路攻击围兜之战中,她将成为克兰普顿的激烈竞争者,但她仍然需要国际经验来对抗她的对手。

不太好的

在第一次测试中,蕨类队在第一节休息时领先 11 球,但在其他节无法重复这一差距 - 仅以 4 分的优势赢得最后一节,随着他们适应变化,他们的势头放缓。其中一些也可以归因于牙买加人的进步,随着比赛的进行,他们找到了他们的联系。 

她说,Taurua 对他们在第二次测试中的开始并不满意,有时会出现失误。但她觉得他们表现出在半场结束时以 36-22 的比分达到自己状态的迹象。

新西兰人在第一次测试中每个季度都失去了他们的第一个中锋传球,这也引起了陶鲁阿的警觉。但这不是第二个问题。

凯特赫弗南因脚趾感染在最后一刻缺席了该系列赛,银蕨队努力寻找完美的侧翼防守。菲尼克斯卡拉卡插上,但没有产生太大影响,当移动到内圈防守时,她立即找到了自己的最佳状态。 Kayla Johnson 在那里的那段时间并不令人信服,因为 Heffernan 的速度和防守的勇气被严重错过了。 

“打边锋对我来说是一个全新的位置……但能够上场确实让我开阔了视野,”卡拉卡说,当她回到球门防守时,她觉得自己在寻找更多的球。 

什么样的未来

Silver Ferns 将于 10 月 12 日在奥克兰举行星座杯赛——两场主场比赛中的第一场,随后是两场客场比赛。

新西兰和澳大利亚没有在英联邦运动会上相遇——这是他们历史上的第一次。但回到 2021 年,新西兰在星座杯 11 年历史上仅第二次获胜。 

一月份北半球可能会有一场四人系列赛,但没有任何确认,这可能是新西兰人在明年七月开普敦世界杯之前唯一一次面对阳光女孩。 

蕨类植物将期待有一些经验丰富的人回归巅峰赛事。 

简·沃森 (Jane Watson) 在生下第一个孩子后迫不及待地想要回来,而吉娜·克兰普顿 (Gina Crampton) 将从她的休假中回来。在足部手术将她排除在英联邦运动会之外之后,卡琳伯格也不会让任何事情阻止她在她的出生国参加世界杯。 

另外两支 2019 年获胜的球队不太可能,但可能包括在内——期待妈妈 Shannon Saunders 和第二次妈妈 Katrina Rore,后者在 2023 年未签约任何 ANZ 英超球队。

对于在 2019 年世界杯上实现奇迹逆转赢得冠军的球队来说,这一次的登顶之路似乎要轻松得多。

还有一段路要走,但至少就目前而言,蕨类队已经为钻石队做好了准备。 

Life'一个繁忙的黑鳍海滩

Olivia Corrin 勤奋且才华横溢,曾代表新西兰参加多项运动,但她发现自己真正的使命是冲浪救生。梅林安德森在世界冠军之前与黑鳍和铁娘子交谈。

我们每天都有相同的 24 小时,但不知何故,奥利维亚科林设法将一周的工作量融入一天。  

这位 21 岁的女孩以游泳开始她的一天,然后去健身房或跑步,然后回家学习大约四个小时。她下午再训练一些,然后在晚上前往当地冲浪救生俱乐部担任女服务员。  

但是对于这位多才多艺、出生于 Gisborne 的冲浪救生员来说,艰苦的赛程都是值得的,她今年夏天在 Nutri-Grain IronWoman 比赛中排名第 10,现在回到意大利,回到 Black Fins,参加下周的救生世界锦标赛.  

Corrin 从小就已经习惯了完整的议程。她代表新西兰参加了三项运动——蹦床、游泳和冲浪救生——并在 14 岁时被确定为潜在的新西兰铁人三项明星。 

但最终胜出的是救生——她五岁时就开始了这项运动。  

Corrin 现在住在黄金海岸,从 Gisborne Girls' High School 毕业后搬到了那里,以追求她儿时在澳大利亚参加 IronWoman 系列比赛的梦想。  

去年,她因肩部盂唇撕裂而被迫退出职业系列赛三轮比赛。但今年夏天,一切都走到了一起。  

“最后一切都对我来说很顺利,我的日常工作非常好——训练、学习和工作——这一切似乎都井井有条,”科林说。  

Corrin 在澳大利亚参加了 2018 年拯救生命的世界冠军赛,并赢得了海洋女子接力赛。照片:新西兰冲浪救生队/Alana McIsaac

习惯了要求苛刻的日常活动,让 Corrin 为最近在里乔内举行的拯救生命的世界锦标赛做好了准备,她将在那里忙碌。

由于新冠肺炎疫情推迟了两年,世界冠军终于要举行了,共有 47 场赛事分布在泳池救援、海洋和海滩学科。 

Corrin 的专长是沙滩和海洋赛车,她是 2018 年海洋女子接力赛的世界冠军。但作为一名跨界运动员,她将在六天内参加所有三个学科的比赛。  

由于 Covid 的限制,她已经有几年没有参加过新西兰冲浪救生队的比赛了,但仍与渴望让她回归的 Black Fins 团队保持联系。

“每个人似乎都聚在一起并再次很好地联系在一起,所以出发和比赛变得非常令人兴奋,”她说。  

Corrin 在电视上看到 IronWoman 比赛时只有 10 岁,并且知道她想有一天能去那里。  

“那是我的梦想,看着他们在球场上奔跑,并在所有的冲浪比赛中与最优秀的选手比赛,我真的很想这样做,”她说。  

她在学会阅读和写作之前就学会了游泳——为了在海滩上安全,她在很小的时候就参加了游泳课。  

一个周末,她的家人在中途冲浪救生俱乐部,洛基霍尔(科林说,俱乐部的传奇人物)找到他们,建议小奥利维亚尝试 11 岁以下儿童项目 nippers。  

“当我五岁的时候,我在一个星期天早上下来,从那以后就没有停下来,”科林说。  

在 Covid 中断之后,Corrin 期待再次戴上黑帽。照片:新西兰冲浪救生队/Alana McIsaac

Corrin 的澳大利亚之旅始于十几岁的时候,他在学校时是一名有竞争力的游泳运动员,在假期里花了两周时间穿越沟渠进行冲浪救生训练。  

回到中途岛的家里,科林没有多少年长的女孩可以仰望。 “有更多的男孩从事这项运动,这是肯定的,”她说。  

“随着年龄的增长,很多女孩似乎都辍学了,无论她们是要上大学还是对这项运动不再感兴趣。”  

Corrin 正在通过梅西大学远程学习文学学士学位,主修教育,辅修心理学,以便在一所小学任教。  

“我真的很喜欢在距离上做这件事,这样我就可以进入自己的日常生活,而且我不必离开我的家,”她开玩笑说。  

然而,对于科林来说,离开家人的艰难举动是必要的,以保持她在比赛中的领先地位和高性能环境。  

她在黄金海岸的新家中说:“我绝对可以看到在家里和在这里做这件事的女孩数量之间的差异。”  

“这有点令人难过,在全国只有一两场预赛,然后是决赛,有时甚至是直接决赛,它只是剥夺了它享有盛誉的头衔。”  

去年夏天的 Nutri-Grain IronMan 和 IronWoman 系列在新西兰的 Sky Sport 上播出 - Corrin 希望此举能进一步扩大冲浪救生的范围,并激励像 Corrin 十年前这样的女孩。  

她说:“我希望所有仰望我们的年轻女孩都想追随我们的脚步,站稳脚跟。” 

由于今年获得了第 10 名,她自动获得了明年 IronWoman 的参赛资格,并希望进一步扩大这项运动的影响力,尤其是对女孩而言。  

她对任何有兴趣参加冲浪救生或 IronWoman 系列比赛的人的建议就是享受它——她采取的建议是为了让自己成为一名更好的运动员。  

“如果你不喜欢它并且你不喜欢它,那就没有意义了,”Corrin 说。  

“在我成长的过程中,我对自己寄予了很高的期望。但是每次比赛我都不太喜欢比赛,因为我会很紧张。  

“但现在我已经学会了处理这个问题和我的情绪。所以一定要学会玩得开心,不要给自己施加压力。”  

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