Palmyra Phoenix players encourage women to play rugby

d493358 Kendra Fell and Vesinia Schaaf-Taufa Picture: Jon Hewson
d493358 Kendra Fell and Vesinia Schaaf-Taufa Picture: Jon Hewson

KENDRA Fell and Vesinia Schaaf-Taufa want young girls to take up rugby.

The Palmyra Phoenix Rugby Union Club inaugural players in 2015 have worked their way through the system to both represent Australia with the Wallaroos at different times.

Fell was in the Wallaroos squad in 2018, while Schaaf-Taufa represented her adopted country in 2016 and 2017 after moving from New Zealand in 2009.

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The Phoenix have been unable to field a side in 2019 due to a lack of numbers, although the duo would not have played, with Schaaf-Taufa suffering an achilles injury in November and Fell taking the year off for family reasons.

Fell said although many people thought rugby was a man’s game, many females also played it.

“It’s such a physical game but it’s so fun to be a part of; you have to be into physicality but when I’m out there I don’t even notice it’s a physical game because there are so many skills to it,” she said.

“You can’t just play rugby if you love contact, you need to be a skilful person and have a good mindset. I think rugby offers so many different challenges and it makes you a better player because you need experience in so many different skills.

“I love having the young girls in our team because they don’t realise how much talent they have.

“For us to play and be older than them, you can see what’s possible and because rugby has continued to grow they have a lot more opportunities than we ever did.”

Schaaf-Taufa said playing for Australia was a “real big eye-opener.”

“It was an amazing experience to travel with the girls and I played my three caps against the Black Ferns,” she said.

Fell said the creation of the Phoenix was an exciting time as the club was passionate about women’s rugby.

“We were able to get together such a good team and over the four years we had such a good team,” she said.