Rugby: Spirit pivot moves north

Former Otago Spirit and Pirates No 10 Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali has swapped the blue and gold of Otago for the red, black and white of Counties Manukau.

Subritzky-Nafatali (23), who played for the Otago women's sevens team at the national championships in Rotorua just last weekend, has made the move to Auckland to further her rugby.

She will play for the Ardmore Marist Rugby Club in the Auckland women's competition, which features 16 teams, including three Waikato teams.

The No 10, who made her debut for the Spirit in 2007 and has played eight tests for the Black Ferns since debuting against England in 2012, was approached by former Black Ferns coach Darryl Suasua when the Spirit played Counties in Dunedin last September.

''He asked me if I wanted to play for his club and redevelop Counties because they aren't a very strong team,'' Subritzky-Nafatali told the Otago Daily Times from Auckland.

While it was a tough decision to move to Auckland, ''the rugby wasn't flash'' in Dunedin and the pivot is looking forward to playing in a more competitive club competition.

Subritzky-Nafatali did not mention names, but hinted that a few other Black Fern players were also planning on relocating to the Ardmore Marist Rugby Club to help rebuild Counties women's rugby.

The playmaker, who was born in Timaru but moved to Dunedin with her family about a year later, said it would be weird to play against Otago in the women's national provincial competition later this year.

''Just playing against people you have been playing with for a wee while will be different. Even just changing colours is going to be quite weird,'' she said.

''If I could still play for Otago I would, but obviously I can't do that.''

''It's a big move from Dunedin to Auckland. It's a bigger world. You can leave 15 minutes before training starts in Dunedin, but here you have to leave an hour before.''

On top of Kelly Brazier's move to the Bay of Plenty, Subritzky-Nafatali's departure leaves a huge hole at No 10 for the Otago Spirit next season.

As well as possessing a handy kicking game, she was instrumental in directing a relatively inexperienced backline.

She also played a key part in the Otago women's sevens team winning the South Island regional tournament in Timaru last month.

Subritzky-Nafatali starts pre-season training with her new club next week.

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