Rugby ace Nicole aiming high

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By Mick Jensen

Former Mt Hutt College student Nicole Purdom is busier than most 22-year-olds and taking sporting opportunities in her stride.

A talented rugby player, she was recently confirmed as Mid Canterbury Rugby Union’s first women’s and schools’ development officer. She combines that role with the job of KiwiSport school activator for Sport Canterbury, a position she took up in May.

When she’s not working, Nicole trains and plays rugby, and also passes on her knowledge as a coach.

“Life is busy, but right now, I’m living the dream ,” she said.

She had returned home in May from two years and a successful playing stint in Ireland, that included a winning season with Suttonians RFC and also training with the Irish national team.

Her goal was still to become a Black Fern and another rugby stint overseas was on the cards again in the next few years.

Nicole said rugby, the game she first played as a five-year-old, remained a passion.

She had tasted success at secondary school level, playing in four Hanan Cup campaigns for Mid/South Canterbury and also at senior level, winning the Farah Palmer Cup, the highest-level women’s rugby championship in the country, in 2017 with the Canterbury team she continued to play for.

“Rugby has opened up so many doors for me and hopefully there’s more to come,” she said.

Her new role with Mid Canterbury Rugby Union was exciting and the chance to build and help female rugby thrive in this district.

She was planning to enter under 13 and under 11 girls sevens teams in the Christchurch summer series in November and then at the South Island regionals in December.

“I’m taking baby steps at the moment and building a foundation to really work from next year.”

Her rugby calendar also includes taking Year 7/8 girls to the Koru Games for a 10-a-side tournament in September and a trip back to her old stomping ground of Methven for the South Island U18 Girls Rugby Tournament at the end of the same month.

Nicole is using her sports coaching degree to good effect in the 30-hour per week role with Sport Canterbury.

She is tasked with visiting six schools in the district and working and planning with teachers to spread the word about the importance of sport and physical recreation.

As part of her third year at university, Nicole was the first woman intern with the Canterbury Rugby Football Union and involved with a number of community events.