Kristin breaks new ground in rugby

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LOOKLOCAL -

WHEN she first came to Curtin Univer­sity, there was no women’s rugby union team for her to join, so she trained with the men’s side twice a week.

Now two years on, Kristin Fair­bairn is a key player on the women’s Curtin Goats team and was re­cently se­lected to play for the WA state team.

Orig­i­nally from Canada, Fair­bairn, a blind side flanker and open-side and sec­ond row player, said rugby in Perth was still de­vel­op­ing for women.

“Play­ing con­tact sports in Canada is not a novel idea; I still find it odd how sur­prised peo­ple were here when I told them I play rugby union,” she said.

“Men and women are sur­prised I could be so pas­sion­ate and ex­cited about a sport that re­quires so much con­tact and be­ing so phys­i­cal.”

A sea­soned rugby player in­ter­na­tion­ally, Fair­bairn first took to the field at 15 years old in high school.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, she moved to Wales and played for a team in Cardiff, se­cured a place on the re­gional team and helped the Cardiff Blues win first place be­fore moving Down Un­der.

“I started train­ing at Goat­land (Curtin Univer­sity) in 2014, but there was no women’s pro­gram at the time so the men’s teams em­braced me and al­lowed me to train with them twice a week,” Fair­bairn said.

“The Curtin Rugby Club is about ca­ma­raderie, work­ing hard for your team­mates, de­vel­op­ing and cel­e­brat­ing.

“It’s one big fam­ily and I think that’s why play­ers come back year af­ter year.”

Be­fore she se­cured her place on the state team, Fair­bairn ad­mit­ted she had been ner­vous to try out be­cause of the cal­i­bre of tal­ent in the team.

“Dur­ing the first try­out, I watched a lot of the drills think­ing ‘wow, these girls have got some in­cred­i­ble tal­ent, what am I do­ing here?’,” she said.

“But the at­mos­phere is amaz­ing, each wo­man has the oth­ers’ back, and we have an awe­some coach­ing and man­age­rial staff.

“I have no doubt we’ll be a mas­sive threat this year in Syd­ney.”

The WA state women’s team will head to Syd­ney to com­pete in June.

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