Black Ferns: Kelly Brazier aiming to become first female national coach for sevens

By Alex Dudley

Kelly Brazier has made it clear that she wants to continue to make history when she finally draws a close on her illustrious career. She plans to do this by becoming the first woman to coach the Black Ferns Sevens.

Brazier has been an ever-present in the Black Ferns squad since making her debut back in 2009 and has won four World Cups and an Olympic silver medal in a career that littered with silverware.

It will come as little surprise to those that have followed her career that it looks likely that she is capable of achieving any dream; whether that be a coaching role within the sevens or 15s set up.

Speaking to Radio NZ, Black Ferns’ assistant coach Cory Sweeney has little doubt that Brazier will achieve her coaching dream. He said: “I’d be more surprised if it didn’t happen.

“Out of all the players I’ve coached in the sport, she is the one who’s stood out as having an exceptional knowledge of the game and an ability to use that on the field. She feels what the players feel, and understands what we want to achieve as coaches.

“She’s almost magical in how she delivers that message.”

It has been a disappointing campaign thus far for the 29-year-old as she has been on the sideline for the past few months as she nurses a torn calf. However, she has still played a crucial part in the team’s successes in three legs of the HSBC World Series.

Brazier has acted as the link between the coaches and the players, something Sweeney explained to be even more valuable when she is on the field.

He continued: “She is driven as a player, driven as a leader and she has a deep understanding as a coach. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she becomes the first female to coach the Black Ferns.”

Brazier could become the first-ever female coach for the Sevens. However, the 15s team have already hired a female in the past; when Vicky Dombroski was appointed in the early 90s.

The Black Ferns star is adamant about achieving her dreams because of her coaching ability and not her gender.

She recently said: “I don’t want to be given the job because I’m a female,” she says. “I’d want to get it because I’ve worked for it and I deserve it.”

She has already received valuable experience for being a part of the coaching set up at the Bay of Plenty Under 18’s girls’ team. And she was quick to notice some differences from coaching women compared to men.

She said: “Males can be told things straight up. It’s harder being so harsh with young females because women take things differently. If you say [a blunt message] to a girl, she could go into her shell. Males go out and try to prove you wrong.”

However, Brazier still has goals in her playing career before hanging up her boots. After winning an unprecedented double in World Cup gold’s in sevens and 15s, she will attempt to go one better from her Olympic silver medal at the Tokyo games next year.

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