At 13 Kendra Reynolds says she finally found her sport.

She admits she wasn't "particularly very good at anything" when it came to sports growing up but in her first year at Te Puke High School she and her friends decided they'd try rugby.

Thirteen years later she's still playing and as the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's women's rugby development officer, is also helping to develop the sport with girls and women of all ages around the region.

"I was at Te Puke High School and they had a girls' rugby team and I was like 'should we just play aye?', so we played and I've stayed, I never left," Reynolds says.


"When I got to high school I wasn't a very sporty kid, I wasn't particularly very good at anything. I played netball in like the D team or something like that, I was very bad, I don't have that much co-ordination," she jokes.

"I played hockey at intermediate which is cool and I loved it but then when I got to high school and I played rugby, I was like 'okay, this is me'."

Since then the sport has given her so much - and she in turn, is now doing the same for rugby.

She has played club rugby for Rangiuru Sports Club, including being part last year's squad that placed second in Baywide Premier Women's competition and is also the team she continues to play for today, continues to play representative women's 15s for the Bay of Plenty Volcanix in the Farah Palmer Cup, was named in the Black Ferns Sevens Development Team to attend two international tournaments in 2017, and has played internationally.

Now she gets to make a career out of her love for the sport.

Last year, Reynolds was the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union junior rugby development officer. This year she was appointed as the union's women's development officer, a role previously held by Black Fern Lesley Elder who has since moved into the high performance side of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union as the women's player development manager.

"I deal with all women's rugby from primary to senior so one of the closest competitions we have coming up is club season. That kicks off with a pre-season tournament on the seventh of April and then kicks into round robin games on the 14th of April, so really excited for that," Reynolds says.

She is looking forward to her first year in her role and is excited about the progression of women's rugby in the Bay of Plenty.


This year, she says the women's club rugby season has more clubs involved, players joining the game for the first time and more competition.

She says one of the most exciting aspects of women's rugby is their flexibility to try new things in their development, compared with men's rugby, where competitions have been running for generations.

"We really had the flexibility to kind of just try just leap and learn that's kind of how we operate in the womens space, let's just give something a go."

And while she loves the growth coming through with women's rugby, they also have to ensure the integrity of competition.

"I think it's going to continue to grow.

"We as a rugby union are doing the best we can to provide opportunities for everyone to play rugby whether you're wanting to play high performance and make Black Ferns or you want to hang out with your mates on a Sunday and play rugby, or you're at school, we focus really hard on providing those opportunities all year round so people just have to take them up."

And there are plenty of opportunities around for female rugby players. Reynolds says they have Bay athletes playing rugby in Japan, Spain and Canada at the moment and will come back to play in the Bay. She says the sevens seasons in New Zealand Japan don't clash and the girls who play 15s are able to play club and Volcanix before heading overseas.