England Women's hooker Amy Cokayne gives Rugby World an insight into her personality
We understand you lived in New Zealand as a child…
Yes, we moved out in 2006 and came back in 2013. My dad joined the New Zealand Air Force and I enjoyed it over there. My dad used to be in the Army and then the Air Force, so we moved a lot and I went to 13 different primary schools!
Is New Zealand where you started playing rugby?
No, I played here and carried on over there. When I was really young I was in the backs, but slowly I moved towards the front row via flanker.
Did you consider playing for New Zealand?
I was named in a 45-strong Black Ferns squad but my coach at Feilding High School, Rob Jones, said: “If you could play for England, would you?” And I said: “Of course, but it’ll never happen as I live in New Zealand.”
England came on tour to New Zealand that year, in 2013, so he got in touch with the England coaches and it all started from there. I decided to move back to England and in the end the whole family came too.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
Rocky (Clark) charging down a conversion against Wales – and the celebration she did.
Who are the jokers in the England squad?
Izzy Noel-Smith is full of energy. We don’t do practical jokes, but I might have to bring that in…
Do you have any phobias?
I don’t really like hair. I hate that moment in the scrum when someone else’s hair touches your face. Cleaning out a hairbrush is gross and doing the drain is disgusting.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Playing in a sevens tournament in New Zealand aged about 12, I did a big swan dive over the try-line and dropped the ball! People in New Zealand still bring it up. I’ve never done it since.
If you could be any team-mate, who would it be?
Emily Braund. She’s so smart and has a great job, working on defence equipment for aircraft.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
We were talking about this over dinner the other night so I’m going to steal one of the girls’ answers. To travel anywhere and not take any time, so I could click my fingers and be in New Zealand.
Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
Adele – I love her and would just make her sing! The Queen because I think it would be funny to make the Queen chill out and see what she was like over dinner. And Michael McIntyre – he’s funny.
What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
I’m in the second year of a sports science degree at Loughborough and I’ve just joined the Air Force Reserves. I’d eventually like to go into the Air Force full-time and make a career out of it. My brother’s in the Army, so I’m definitely from a military family.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Biscuits! I like any kind but Lotus ones are high up on the list. You can also get a Lotus spread. It’s unreal but so bad for you.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I was national javelin champion in my age group in New Zealand at 14/15. It was hard to do as well as rugby, and rugby won the battle.
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