A product of Fairfield College, Ana Marsters has her sights firmly set on the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia next year.
At 18, Marsters is a member of the Waikato team playing in the Women's Provincial Championship and is involved with the union's Go for Gold sevens programme which has a focus on fostering up and coming talent.
“I'm aiming to be at the sevens at the next World Cup and just keep pushing, keep playing and [hope to] get better.”
It's not bad for someone who only took up rugby when she started secondary school. She had played football up until then.
Marsters says there are many things she enjoys about the sport, one of them being the experience of meeting other rugby players from around the country.
“Getting to meet heaps of new people and meeting people that have played in the Black Ferns before is really cool,” the year 13 student said.
After helping Fairfield claim the Waikato schoolgirls' rugby title and lifting the Vanessa Cootes Cup, Marsters says playing in the women's competition is another level up
The skilful winger believes the pace of the game is the real difference between the levels, but knows there are aspects of the game that become a little easier in the first-class grade.
“The speed of the game - it's faster. I guess in some ways it's easier because everyone knows their jobs and what you really need to focus on is your job.”
She admits it was a shock at first but has had the assistance of her coaches and team-mates to help her along.
“At first it was a big change but I've learnt heaps and all the girls have helped me out a lot, and my coaches. It's getting better.”
Marsters credits her accomplishments in rugby to her father, Richard, and her school coach, Mike Smith. However, on the field, Black Ferns and team-mates Teresa Te Tamaki and Crystal Kaua are players that motivate the teenager.
“They [Te Tamaki and Kaua] are a big inspiration, they always push. I just watch how hard they go - it pushes me.”
In addition to her rugby achievements, the gifted athlete represents her school in cricket and softball and also coaches Fairfield's junior girls touch team.
In the meantime, Marsters and the Waikato squad are preparing for their next match in the National Provincial Championship as they host Wellington this weekend.
- Waikato Times