Rugby

It’s hammer time for Woodman

WATCH: In a down-to-earth interview on Sky Sport, rugby legend Portia Woodman talks about her latest endeavour, the frustration of injuries, and the double she wants to achieve in 2021. 

She’s well known for plying her craft in two sporting codes, but now Portia Woodman is steadily working on adding another skill to her toolbox - carpentry.

“At the moment I’m doing a carpentry apprenticeship which I’m enjoying,” the Black Fern, who’s been sidelined through injury for nearly two years, tells Jeff Wilson in the latest episode of the Sky Sport series The Pod.

“I’m definitely getting through a bit of it with all this downtime.

“I love building things at the moment, so I think I will pursue that a lot sooner rather than later, and then get into coaching later in life.”

Injury has dictated 28-year-old Woodman’s stellar rugby career in recent times.

Having left the Northern Mystics netball side to commit herself to rugby in 2014, she won silver in sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics and gold in 15s at the 2017 World Cup. That year she was World Rugby’s women’s player of the year.

But then she was sidelined with a ruptured achilles for a year, and in her comeback in late 2019 at the Oceania Sevens, she injured her hamstring. Now the sevens star from Kaikohe plans to return home to play for the Northland Kauri in this year’s Farah Palmer Cup.

Two years out of the game can be mentally draining.

Woodman says the first six months were all good because she knew she wouldn’t be playing, but by nine months things started to take a turn.

“It started to get a bit harder again. My calf rises weren’t going as well as I thought, my running technique was all out of whack and then I did my hammy,” she says.

The sevens team are going on annual leave for six weeks soon. Woodman won’t be doing any rugby specific training during the down time. Instead she will be getting back to drills from the two sports she participated in growing up - athletics and netball.

Woodman speaks about her transition from netball to rugby and the moment she put on the black jersey for the first time. She had been given the all-clear from her netball franchise to travel to Fiji with the Black Fern Sevens side.

“It was like a glove that was perfectly made for you. I thought ‘This is meant to be, with these bunch of girls, playing this sport’,” says Woodman.

Even though she dislocated her shoulder in the first game against Tonga, putting her out for the rest of the tournament, she liked it anyway.

Woodman wants to compete at both the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year.

“I’d love to give it a crack. We haven’t won that gold yet, so I would love to live that dream,” she says. “And then to finish off with a World Cup at the end of the year at home and [with it] being held up North is special as well, so I’m trying to do both.”

Woodman also shares her thoughts on growing up with a family of All Blacks, on the silver lining of coming second at the Rio Olympics, and how she originally wanted to be the fastest woman in the world over 100m. 

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