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New Zealand

Brazier’s brave step to coach sevens in Japan


Black Ferns Sevens great Kelly Brazier is advancing his coaching credentials at growing Japanese club Brave Luve as long as he can bring his young sons along.

Kelly Brazier looks beyond the end of her long, golden Black Ferns Sevens career, possibly at her third Olympics.

Brazier has signed a deal with Brave Luve in the burgeoning Japanese women’s sevens series during the Black Ferns’ offseason starting next month.

Famous for her trademark steps, this is another step in the right direction for the 33-year-old Brazier. Brazier has always said when she wants to coach, although she hopes to play for Black Ferns and her sevens at least until next year’s Paris Olympics. she took off her shoes.

She is touted as the first woman to coach the Black Ferns Sevens.

But now, with 208 appearances for his country in the World Sevens Series, the most important thing for Brazier is to learn as much as he can from his experience with Brave Luve. And she can take Whanau (her wife Talia and her two young sons) with her.

read more:
Brazier aims to become Black Ferns Sevens’ first female coach
* Hillini reveals she’s the new Pearl in Japan’s Seven’s Crown

The oldest, 3-year-old Oakley, says he wants to grow up to be a Black Fern after discovering his mother plays rugby for work. And youngest son Sullivan, who just turned 7 weeks old, had a rough start with Covid (“It was a little bit dangerous”) at 10 days old, followed by a viral infection while Brazier was playing in the Hong Kong Sevens. turned it off.

As such, it’s important to Brazier that she have Whanau with her to help Tahiria and share cross-cultural experiences with them.

“Being with them, putting my passion into it, teaching some girls skills and learning from them is a big thing for me,” she says.

Kelly Brazier with sons Oakley (left) and Sullivan.

Brazier’s decision follows her Captain Sara Gilini heading in the same direction – Joined Mie Pearls as the first Black Ferns Sevens player to take a sabbatical to play in Japan.

“I’ve been involved with this game for a while, and it drove me crazy to think my time was up,” says the four-time World Cup winner. “But the truth is, I’m getting older and I’m starting to look better.

“I’m passionate about the game and the experience it gives me, and I love the tactical side of it. It’s nice to venture down that road and give back in some way.”

Brazier has worked with the Bay of Plenty age group team in the past and also runs a coaching clinic in Japan. But in the last few years, her focus has been mostly on playing (when Covid-her pandemic is uninterrupted).

“I did a little bit of coaching, but I never did it every day,” she says.

“So after 10 years with the Black Ferns, being on a team that’s a group of players I know nothing about already puts me outside my comfort zone and challenges me. I’m a shy person, so exposing myself helps me grow.

“I want to be an open book. I want to work with different coaches and learn from them and share what I know with them. share with the girls, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Brazier’s eight-week role will kick off three weeks after she plays in the final tournament of the World Sevens Series in Toulouse, France (the Black Ferns have won their sixth World Series title and are at a high price). Aiming to end in ). She will stay at her home for a day before her family flies to Japan and settles in Fuchu City, 30 minutes west of Tokyo.

Her role at Brave Louve is that of a “spot coach,” she explains, working on game plans and player skills.

“I can come almost the day before their first tournament and see the games they are playing and I can teach them skills, so it’s kind of cool. In some ways, we try to incorporate changes and skills that can make us better.

“I’m sure it will be jam-packed. But the challenge excites me.”

Kelly Brazier, Sarah Hillini and Portia Woodman-Wycliffe win gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Getty Images.

It all started with a “random” contact from the club, eager to work with Brazier.

“At first, I thought it wouldn’t work with their season and our season dates,” she says. Discussions stalled for a while, settling on a two-month window. Like Hillini, Brazier has a short-term sabbatical on his contract with New Zealand rugby.

“I had never heard of them until they messaged me. It’s a group that has never been before and a group that has improved to win the competition. I look forward to doing what I can to help the team stay in that league.”

Brave Louve general manager Yoshinori Namba said the club is thrilled that Brazier, “one of the top players in the world”, will join the team to “help change the future of rugby in Japan”. said.

“We hold clinics for young Brave Louve players for Japanese junior high and college students who want to go global,” he says.

(By Brave Louve, he explains, we mean Brave Sea Wolf – “We howl on the pitch.”)

Brazier, who will face the Cherry Blossoms, a rapidly progressing Japanese sevens team, on the World Circuit, said their fitness was “next level” and their strong work ethic resembled his own. I know

“I’m looking forward to working with a group of like-minded girls who bring it all together,” she says.

“Another big thing I get from them is their desire to learn new things. Hanging out. “

Brazier is unfazed by the language barrier. Four years ago, a Japanese sevens group came to New Zealand. Brazier was able to coach them while he was off the field with a calf injury. “Then I went to Japan to do four or five coaching clinics for her, coinciding with a break from rugby in New Zealand,” she says.

“At the time, to be fair, I was a little nervous – myself and the guide and translator. But I learned a whole different way of coaching, they couldn’t spend five minutes explaining a drill because they couldn’t understand me.”

Currently, she is “not at all fluent” in Japanese, but has mastered the basic commands and plans to do some homework to learn more before she leaves. She was told that another coach at Brave Louve could speak a little English.

And one of Brave Luve’s newest players this season is Kiwi speedy winger Deena Ranginui Puketapu. He also represented New Zealand with the Touch Blacks and played for the NZ Defense Force in Touch, Netball and Basketball.

2023 Brave Rove Women’s Sevens Members

Brazier admits that constant travel with the Black Ferns Sevens is tough on her young family, especially with a sick newborn.

“It’s a struggle. I know how hard it is to be left at home with two people, but Talia does it every day,” she says.

“But going to Japan allows us to spend more time together. I couldn’t imagine.”

Brazier loves the World Sevens series, saying “I’ve lost once in the past year,” and says he’s still learning from the game.

“It’s kind of addictive,” she says. “It’s next level that this team, who had to watch the series at home a year and a half ago, has bounced back and is now able to play every tournament.

“I want to win one last time, take a break and lead towards the Olympics.

“The reason I want to come out every day is because we are winning, but I know how much better we can get, both individually and as a team. , we’re exploring where we can make this happen. Winning is a bonus, but being able to do it with the best of friends is something special.”

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/lockerroom/braziers-brave-step-to-coach-sevens-in-japan Brazier’s brave step to coach sevens in Japan

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