During her day job Krysten ("Duffy") Cottrell preaches about the pathway available to the country's top female rugby players.

In the wake of the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union's women's development officer's latest achievement she shouldn't be short of answers during her next Q & A session. On Wednesday Cottrell (nee Duffill) became the Bay's first contracted Black Fern when 28 of New Zealand's best female players became the first 15s players to be offered Black Ferns contracts.

"It's pretty exciting. But I didn't see it coming ... not this year. It's good to get a crack," Cottrell said.

"This selection has proved if you've got the drive and the passion for the game you can get there. It's just about being persistent and loving the work you are doing."


A former Manawatu rep for five years and Hawke's Bay Tuis player who played the last of her 18 first-class games for the Tuis in 2012, Cottrell, 26, has shone in the fullback and wing position over the years. However, she has been selected as a first five-eighths for the Black Ferns and joins Counties-Manukau's Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali as the pivots in the squad which will have its first training camp next month.

"I want first-five to be my position from now on. I'm not afraid to have a go on attack, I can handle the defensive duties the position requires and I've got the necessary vision," Cottrell explained.

Cottrell, who started playing for the Tuis as a 15-year-old, deserves top marks for persistence. She admitted she was starting to wonder if Black Ferns selection was going to happen and she and hubby, one of the Bay's top referees Tipene Cottrell, were considering starting a family.

"Tips said I've got the chance to put a black jersey on. Family can wait until later on."

Last year she spent time playing sevens in Japan and Cottrell said it was good to experience a different style of play. Because of that trip she missed out on playing for her Taradale club when they lost to Clive in the Hawke's Bay 15-a-side final.

She will play for Taradale against Napier Technical at Whitmore Park when the five-team Hawke's Bay women's 15-a-side competition begins tomorrow. Hastings Rugby and Sports will host Clive in one of their club-day fixtures and MAC have the bye.

Cottrell predicted Taradale and Clive to meet in this season's final again.

"We had some tens tournaments recently and Clive won two of them and we won the other. Winning the Hawke's Bay Sevens title in Waipukurau in February was good for our Taradale side.


"There are a lot of young players with huge potential spread across the teams and I can't wait to see how they develop," Cottrell said.

She was full of praise for the support she has received from numerous coaches and support staff over the years who have played a part in her Black Ferns squad selection. Cottrell singled out Tuis fitness trainer Damon Bunce for his input.

"I know it's good to crack the 28. It's now time to put in the hard work with the aim of making the playing team."

While her hubby was more than handy first five-eighths in premier club play Cottrell said they don't have as much time as they would like to train with each other because of their respective sporting pursuits.

"There were times when we did kick-and-run drills together but we don't see each other very often these days.

"We wouldn't have time to do a television advertisement like Richie and Gemma McCaw," she quipped.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO Jay Campbell described Cottrell's selection as a "fantastic achievement."

"Everyone involved with HB rugby is extremely proud of Duffy's latest achievement. To become a Black Fern is no easy feat and Duffy has displayed tremendous commitment in order to achieve being rewarded a contract. We are all very excited to see Duffy don the fern when her time comes.

"Duffy also works extremely hard out in the community lifting the profile of the women's game in our province,'' Campbell added.

He pointed out Hawke's Bay women's competition sponsor Big Barrel will provide a prize package for the top tryscorer in the comp as it will for the second consecutive year to the top tryscorer during the Maddison Trophy rounds in Hawke's Bay's premier men's competition.