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A World Cup in Ireland is particularly special for Black Fern star Brazier

The 27-year-old hopes to meet her family in Belfast for the first time next week.

Brazier came off the bench to score a brilliant individual try against Hong Kong yesterday.
Brazier came off the bench to score a brilliant individual try against Hong Kong yesterday.
Image: Niall Carson

RUGBY HAS GIVEN Kelly Brazier the opportunity to see parts of the world she never thought was possible, but of all her trips around the globe with the Black Ferns, this one to Ireland is particularly significant.

A World Cup is always a special occasion in any player’s career and for Brazier this tournament has an added layer of relevance to it given her family ties to Ireland.

Not only has Brazier been given the opportunity to return to the country of her mother’s birth for only the second time, but when the tournament heads north for Belfast in a week’s time, the 27-year-old will play in front of family she has yet to meet.

“My mum was actually born in Belfast so I’m quite excited to get up there,” the 27-year-old told The42 after New Zealand emphatically beat Hong Kong in Pool A yesterday.

“It’s cool to be in this country as last year was the first time I was over here when we came to play England, Canada and Ireland in a series. It will be my first time in Belfast though and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I haven’t met that side of my family yet and it will be cool to meet my Grandma after all these years. It’ll be nice to catch up with them and play some good footy in front of them.”

And New Zealand have certainly been playing that in this tournament so far, notching up two comprehensive victories over Wales and Hong Kong heading into Thursday’s pool decider against Canada.

It’s clear the Black Ferns have been enjoying their time in Ireland, both on and off the field, with the four-time World champions fully immersing themselves in the local surroundings and interacting with the supporters who have come out to watch them.

New Zealand celebrate after the game New Zealand celebrate their big win over Hong Kong. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Not long after Sunday’s 19-try demolition of Hong Kong, a number of players were pictured in the UCD fanzone playing tag rugby with a group of young kids while the entire squad were in Johnnie Fox’s Pub on Friday night sampling the best of Irish culture.

Brazier added that it has lead to a relaxed atmosphere inside the camp: “We love it here in Ireland, the culture here is awesome and to get out and about and see a bit of the singing and that kind of the thing, the girls don’t shy away from it so it was cool to get up there and have a few singalongs.

“In a tournament with a three-day turnaround, just to get out and about, clear the heads and freshen up the body and mind. To get a break means the girls come back fixated on the job and makes them hungrier to get back out there.”

A laid-back attitude off the pitch, but New Zealand are focused on the task in hand on it.

“We’re taking this tournament one by one and the next four days are going to be another step up,” the Dunedin-born back continued. “We just have to worry about our game plan and if we do that it should be a good game [against Canada].”

And how special would it be to lift the World Cup in front of family at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium?

“That’s the aim,” Brazier smiled.

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