Thu, Nov 11, 2021 5:23 AM
Former Waimea College star Sam Curtis has been named in the Blues squad for the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki season. Photo: Shuttersport (File)
After seeing a women’s rugby team for the first time as a ten-year-old, Sam Curtis knew she wanted to be part of it.
Sam had just finished up playing with the boys at Jubilee Park when she saw the all-female Waimea side, and her future.
More than a decade later and Sam will be part of history as the first ever Super Rugby women’s competition is introduced.
Sam was so excited to hear she was going to be a Blue that she almost fainted.
The 25-year-old Waimea winger’s name was included in the Auckland based franchise’s squad for the inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki competition next year.
“I didn’t expect it, so I am super chuffed.”
After getting the news from head coach Willie Walker, Sam was straight on the phone to tell her biggest fans.
“My parents have always been so supportive.”
Sam was part of the wider training squad at the start of the year when the Blues and Chiefs met in the first ever women’s Super Rugby match in 2021.
“It was amazing, to think how far women’s rugby has come, when I was younger there were nowhere near the opportunities that there are now which is really exciting for the youth.”
She says the Blues have been trailblazers for women’s rugby and they are every chance to claim the crown.
“We have a good mixture of experience and young talent.”
Of course, there will be plenty of stiff competition particularly from their neighbours down the motorway.
“The Chiefs have got a lot of Black Ferns, but we don’t shy away from a challenge.”
A move to Auckland for her career coincided with a shift from Canterbury to the Auckland Storm where she reunited with twin sister Taylor.
“I had a really good opportunity to work at an awesome company, so I jumped at it.”
A graphic designer for Media Works off the field, Sam says the work and rugby balance is still challenging.
“I have come up with a routine that works for me, I just try to be really organised and have good communication with my coaches and bosses.”
Though the women are being paid, it is not enough to sustain them.
“I’ll still need my job, but it is nice to see it moving in that direction.”
Sam says while getting paid is a bonus, most of the players would be out there regardless.
“I feel like a lot of the girls love the game so much that they would happily kit up and play anyway.”
Sam has been a trailblazer herself as she helped form the first ever Waimea College women’s first XV, coached by her father.
She was also playing club rugby at just 15 against grown women.
“I was excited, I just wanted to get out and play with the big girls, mum was a bit worried though.”
Preparations for the upcoming season have been slightly hampered by Covid-19, however living with her sister has made the period much easier for Sam.
“Lockdown is lockdown, I can’t change it so just try to make most of bad situation. I am lucky to be flatting with Taylor so we can train together.”
Sam hopes to soak up as much as she can from the Blues environment.
“I just want to put best foot forward, these are the best 105 women in the country, so the opportunity is there to go out and grab it.”