An exciting piece of news for the North Harbour Rugby Union was the selection of local East Coast Bays and Harbour Hibiscus rep player Cristo Tofa in the New Zealand Black Ferns. Cristo, a proud Samoan, was born and raised in Auckland and is now living in Greenhithe with her partner Jason Taufua and their son Penita. As well as excelling at rugby, Cristo works as a supervisor/youth worker and is passionate about working with young people (at risk youth). Besides wearing the black jersey, Cristo’s main goal is to provide a youth service that caters specifically to young females. Channel Mag's Aidan Bennett put these questions to Harbour’s newest international rugby player just after her selection for the Black Ferns in July.
AIDAN BENNETT: How long have you been playing rugby and what position do you play?
CRISTO TOFA: I have been playing rugby for four years. I play hooker as well as loosehead and tighthead prop.
AB: Congratulations on your selection for the Black Ferns, when will you play your first game?
CT: Thank you. The team assembles on August 7th and we then play a triangular match against Auckland Storm and Bay of Plenty in Tauranga then from there we have two test matches against Australia. The first test is in Sydney on August 18th and then we come back to Auckland for the second test on August 25th. Both are curtain raiser games for the All Blacks tests.
AB: Do you have any rugby people you look up to, or inspire you?
CT: The Itunu sisters – Aldora and Linda Itunu. The standard they set on and off the field has helped my development as a player. My 10-year old son Penita Taufua also inspires me. The effort he puts in each week, I am reminded daily that if my 10-year old can dig deep and put in the training, week in week out, then I have no excuses.
AB: When does the QBE Harbour Women’s NPC season kick off and how is the team shaping up for 2018?
Harbour's first game in the Farah Palmer Cup is on September 1st and we also have a couple of pre-season tournaments. The wider training group has been training for a couple of months now.
The squad is looking really good, so much talent and so many young girls coming through. North Harbour Rugby have been fiercely supportive in growing the womens game across North Harbour Region. Sarah Mcllroy, Bill Wigglesworth and their team have been working tirelessly by implementing rugby specific programmes to develop our rugby skillset.
Moni Collins and his coaching staff have come on board for 2018 and are continuing the passion and commitment to North Harbour Rugby Women's development. I'm excited for the Farah Palmer Cup this year as I can already see the fruits of our labour paying dividends.
The 2018 Farah Palmer Cup Womens NPC Draw – Saturday September 1st v Otago (away); Saturday September 8th v Taranaki (away); Sunday September 16th v Tasman (QBE Stadium); Saturday September 22nd v Hawkes Bay (away); Saturday September 29th v Wellington (Windsor Park); Saturday October 6th v Waikato (QBE Stadium); Finals: October 13th & 20th.
For more information visit: www.harbourrugby.co.nz