Former Aotearoa Maori lock has benefited from her involvement in rugby and now wants to give others similar opportunities.
Crystal Kaua enjoyed a successful playing career, which included representing the New Zealand Maori sevens team and provincial rugby for both Auckland and Waikato. But it is as a coach that she has truly excelled.
She formed an effective team with her husband, Brent, as joint coaches of Auckland and Cook Islands’ women’s sevens teams before a successful four-year spell in charge of the Mie Pearls in Japan.
The Kauas are now back in New Zealand where Crystal is working as head coach of Chiefs Manawa and skills coach and performance analyst of the Black Ferns sevens team, where she is committed to giving players the opportunities she enjoyed.
“Rugby changed my life. It kept me in school and funded my university education,” Kaua told World Rugby.
“As a player it took me overseas and showed me a different world. I wanted to provide that same opportunity to other young people.
“Coaching high school XVs, sevens and touch for nine years made me absolutely fall in love with coaching.
“Rugby serves as a vehicle to change lives. I also coach for those moments when all the pieces of the puzzle come together.
“It’s special when players from different backgrounds build trust and can be themselves, when they automate their skills and play with freedom under pressure. Those beautiful rugby moments, that’s what I enjoy.”
Kaua’s involvement in the Gallagher High Performance Academy will add to her coaching experience and give her the opportunity to learn from other talented coaches.
“I want to be the best version of myself for our players and staff, so I hope for growth on and off the field,” she said.