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'I'm not retiring suckers!': How Kendra Cocksedge reacted to winning the World Cup

By Ned Lester
Kendra Cocksedge kisses the World Cup after the Black Ferns' victory. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Kendra Cocksedge admits the joy in the moment her Black Ferns won the World Cup had her reconsidering her plans to retire, but ultimately the Black Ferns’ most-capped-ever player finds herself satisfied with her career and in a good space to leave her playing days behind.

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Cocksedge was a special guest on New Zealand Rugby’s ASB Awards show where she and her co-captain, Kennedy Simon, accepted the award of New Zealand Team of the Year on behalf of the Black Ferns squad.

She was asked if what the Black Ferns accomplished had her flirting with the idea of extending her playing career.

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“It’s funny you say that,” Cockedge replied. “After the final whistle when we were celebrating, I said to the girls ‘I’m not retiring suckers!’

“But nah, I’m really content with my decision, it’s a fairytale ending for me and I guess as a player who’s been around a long time, it’s the way you want to end your career and I’m pretty happy with that.”

Safe to say winning a World Cup on home soil in front of a record number of fans certainly would qualify as a “fairytale ending” in any athletes’ book.

Cocksedge then reflected on her most proud achievements in the Black jersey and her humility again shone through, as she reffered not to her all time points record, or her all time caps record, or three World Cup victories, but to the evolution of women’s rugby.

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“I think it’s probably just the growth of the game, if you can’t see her, you can’t be her. That’s been massive for me coming through the years of playing and we’ve got young girls and young boys watching us throughout the World Cup and you got young boys now that want to be Black Ferns, you’ve got young girls who know who you are, know your name when you’re walking down the street and I think that’s what’s really special about this momentum and I’m so excited to see where it goes in the next two to three years.”

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Cocksedge now has a role working as Women’s Rugby Development Manager at New Zealand Rugby, where she caters to the Canterbury region.

Whether or not that satisfies the 34-year-old’s competitive spirit is yet to be seen; rumours are circulating that a coaching role could be on the cards in the near future. A rumour Cocksedge addressed with a smile.

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“Yea maybe, maybe. Watch this space.”

Cocksedge’s halves partner and co-captain Ruahei Demant cleaned house at the awards show, taking home Maori Player of the Year, Black Ferns Player of the Year and Player of the Year in addition to her side winning New Zealand Team of the Year.

Cocksedge had this to say of her teammate:

“She’s a great person, that’s what it comes down to, she’s a great leader, she’s very humble in everything she does on and off the field. The players really respect her, when she speaks, everyone just listens, and she is very deserving of the player of the year award.”

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