No ‘what-ifs’ for league player

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

The chance to play rugby at the Olympics is the ul­ti­mate goal for a league-lov­ing Porirua woman.

Manea Poa, 23, is headed to Ire­land to com­pete for one of the last sevens qual­i­fy­ing spots for the Rio Olympics – but her sights aren’t set on wear­ing black and sil­ver.

Poa plays for the Cook Is­lands women’s team and said the team’s chances of qual­i­fy­ing through the June 25 to 26 tour­na­ment were high.

‘‘We’re go­ing in as un­der­dogs and the girls are su­per tal­ented.’’

The Olympic bid is even more im­pres­sive given Poa came back from a se­ri­ous in­jury last year.

Three days be­fore she had to travel to Aus­tralia for a sevens com­pe­ti­tion she broke her leg play­ing league.

‘‘I had to take a break for six or seven months from any fit­ness which was re­ally hard.’’

The in­jury meant she had to pull out of the Ocea­nia Com­pe­ti­tion. ‘‘The hard­est part was ad­mit­ting to my­self I wasn’t ready.’’

The Olympic bid has kept her fo­cused through the long months of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and she can’t wait to re-take the rugby field.

She said de­spite her life-long pas­sion for rugby league, she had learned to love rugby.

She plays for Norths rugby club in Porirua and the Rand­wick rugby league club in Lower Hutt.

‘‘You have to have a pas­sion for the sport you play, I have that now.’’

Orig­i­nally from Blen­heim, Poa and her part­ner, ‘‘lo­cal boy’’, Mar­cus Maoate live in Ti­tahi Bay with their 3-year-old daugh­ter

‘‘You have to have a pas­sion for the sport you play, I have that now.’’

Akaina.

Poa, a per­sonal trainer and gym man­ager, said sport was a way of life for her fam­ily.

‘‘Mar­cus and I both play league and touch and Akaina plays in un­der 6s. Af­ter work, ev­ery­thing in our lives is sport.’’

The hard­est thing about trav­el­ling over­seas would be leav­ing her daugh­ter be­hind.

‘‘It’s the long­est I’ve been away from her, but I don’t want to look back on any­thing and think I should have done that. I don’t be­lieve in that.’’

How­ever, de­spite the Olympic bid, Poa said her first love would al­ways be rugby league, a love she shared with her Dad.

‘‘My friends never wanted to stay in the week­ends be­cause me and Dad would have the league on.’’

– Manea Poa Porirua’s Manea Poa, right, hopes to go to the Olympics with the Cook Is­lands sevens team.

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