Football: Brazier playing football to break up training

Kelly Brazier
Kelly Brazier
Black Fern Kelly Brazier has prepared for the Women's World Cup in England in unusual fashion, by playing football with her mother every Sunday.

Brazier (20), a utility back in the New Zealand squad hoping to win its fourth consecutive World Cup, plays for the Roslyn-Wakari women's team in the Dunedin second grade competition.

Most of the team, including her mother, Gwen, are aged over 40.

Brazier started playing football aged 10 but gave up for a few years while she concentrated on her rugby.

"Mum dragged me back this year and I'm enjoying it," Brazier said.

"I train every day for rugby and this is an easy day for me."

The multi-talented Brazier has also represented New Zealand at touch.

She plays striker for Roslyn-Wakari and has scored 30 goals this season.

Brazier is a utility back in the World Cup team and will play at first five-eighth, second five-eighth or fullback.

First five-eighth is her favourite position.

"I try to play my own game," she said.

"I watch Dan Carter a lot and admire his skills.

I note how he does his kicking practice and wish I could play like him."

Brazier, a personal training student at the Otago Polytechnic, will be one of the Black Ferns' goal-kickers at the World Cup.

She had her first taste of international rugby in England last year and admitted being nervous before the first test, which the Black Ferns won 16-3.

"I'd never suffered from nerves before but I was quite nervous before the national anthems," Brazier admitted.

"But after the haka and an early touch of the ball, the nerves went away."

Brazier has a settled routine on match day and listens to music to prepare herself for big games.

"I like relaxing music before the warm-up and like to liven it up before I run on to the field," she said.

"But it depends on my mood."

The second test, at Twickenham, was memorable because of the big crowd of 18,000 that watched the game.

"The All Blacks played England before our game and when we ran in to the ground there was a huge crowd," Brazier said.

"The noise was huge.

I was just 1m away from Carla [Hohepa] and we couldn't hear each other because of the noise."

The Black Ferns lost the test 10-3.

"We have been given videos of the game to watch and identify where we went wrong," Brazier said.

"We have a game plan in place to counter England this time."

Brazier's flatmate and fellow Otago member of the Black Ferns squad, Hohepa (25), is spending a few days in Te Awamutu with her family before the team leaves for the World Cup on Friday.

Hohepa, a winger, has played for the Black Ferns for the past four years and scored 11 tries. She was in the New Zealand sevens team that lost the final of the World Cup to Australia last year.

Hohepa completed her course at the Dunedin College of Education last year and returned to Dunedin this year for rugby.

Brazier and Hohepa are both members of the Alhambra-Union premier team that beat Pirates 43-0 on Saturday to win the club's fifth successive premier title.

"We want to bring back the World Cup. Playing in the tournament is pretty cool," Brazier said.


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