'Is that Black Fern in your team, mum?': Kate Henwood recounts meteoric rise
Following the Black Ferns’ announcement of 2023’s fully contracted players, one contract took longer than the rest to get settled.
That was the contract of Kate Henwood, a 34-year-old from Opotiki with an already well-established career as a management accountant with Whakatane’s Control Tech Ltd.
Despite Henwood’s superb form for the Chiefs Manawa, the call from new Black Ferns coach Allan Bunting took the prop by surprise and once the celebrating was done, she realised she was left with a “big decision”.
“It did mean big changes,” she said. “I’m older, with a career, and I’ve worked hard to get to where I was.
“The next day, I was like ‘did I dream that just happened?’ It was really surprising.
“I’ve probably not been dreaming about this. Maybe 10 years ago I was. But you’re never going to get an opportunity like this, to train full-time.
“I’ve always done rugby on the side. To be full-time and to see what you can achieve, that’s the most exciting thing.”
One of five kids in a rugby family, Henwood’s success on the field was always overshadowed by brother Sam, who boasts Chiefs, Hurricanes and Maori All Black credentials.
“He was the golden child, but I’ve now surpassed him,” she joked.
Now with a family of her own, support has to be earned from within the household, with 8-year-old daughter Stella slowly coming around to the idea that her mum is “cool”.
“Stella started getting excited when I was around the (Bay of Plenty) Volcanix. There was a home game that she came to, and we were signing autographs.
“She started thinking, ‘this is a big deal’.
“Then, at the Chiefs, she was saying ‘is that Black Fern in your team, mum?’ She thinks they’re really cool. Not mum, though.”
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Great read. Top player, even better man.Go to comments
So I’m assuming England centrally contract the women as there’s no money in the women’s game? Time they did the same in the men’sGo to comments