Wal­la­roo hard nut proud to wear palms on her back

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

PALMYRA Rugby Union Club stand­out Vesinia Schaaf-Ta­ufa has been re­warded for an out­stand­ing sea­son at club and state level with se­lec­tion to the Wal­la­roos squad that jet­ted to New Zealand for a three-Test tour.

The Thorn­lie res­i­dent made her in­ter­na­tional de­but play­ing against the Black Ferns in the cur­tain raiser for a Bledisoe Cup clash at Eden Park last year.

That game ended in a 67-3 drub­bing and although back­rower Schaaf-Ta­ufa ad­mits she is most happy tack­ling, the Wal­la­roos will be plan­ning to spend a bit more time in at­tack when they take on Eng­land, New Zealand and Canada as part of prepa­ra­tions for the women’s World Cup in Ireland in Au­gust.

Raised as part of a rug­by­mad fam­ily in Gis­borne, New Zealand, Schaaf-Ta­ufa fol­lowed her older sis­ters into the sport in Year 6 and played for Poverty Bay Rugby Club be­fore mov­ing to Aus­tralia in 2009. She is cur­rently in her third sea­son with Palmyra and has carved out a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-nosed de­fender who is will­ing to put in the hard yards.

“I used to play blind­side flanker but I got moved to open side a few years ago and just fell in love with it,” she said.

“When you’re play­ing num­ber 7 the fly­half is your tar­get and your goal is pres­sure them as much as pos­si­ble.

“The fly­half is usu­ally one of the more im­pact­ful play­ers in a team, so if you can shut them down and force them to start throw­ing ugly balls, you can take their backs out of the game.”

Schaaf-Ta­ufa said she could not be hap­pier with her de­ci­sion to switch club al­le­giances from Kala­munda to Palmyra in 2015.

“A lot of clubs don’t back their wom­ens teams but Palmyra is right be­hind us and sup­ports us all the way,” she said.

“They put us on the first­grade field and record our games – play­ing on your club’s first-grade field is a big deal, so it is a real priv­i­lege to wear the palms on our back.”

Palmyra Rugby Union Club's Vesinia Schaaf-Ta­ufa.

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