At just 17 years of age, Kodi Barlow has been playing Touch Rugby for slightly less than 10 years.
She started at age eight, playing for the Counties Manukau Under-9s team and quickly moved up the ranks.
The Year 13 Pakuranga College student continues to play for a variety of Counties teams was recently selected as part of the New Zealand Training Squad for the next Touch Trans Tasman in 2019 in the U20s.
Barlow said she was impressed to be chosen for the squad and hopes it will bring her closer to her end goal.
“I want to be playing for the Touch Blacks. That’s my ultimate goal so this [NZ training squad] is the pathway to get there.”
Barlow recently played at the New Zealand Touch Nationals representing the Counties Open Womens Grade where she played every game and made it through to the finals against Auckland but lost in the last second with a score of 11-10.
Despite her young age, Barlow has already represented New Zealand twice.
In 2015 she played for the U17 National team and travelled to Australia. Last year she was
also selected to play at the Trans Tasman Test Series as part of
the New Zealand invitational team.
Barlow said playing in the Nationals was “a big step up” from any other touch she’s played.
“A couple of weeks ago I was at Junior Nationals but this was definitely a step up.
“It was a great experience, especially because the team I was in was full of New Zealand players and me being able to play alongside them … I definitely learnt heaps.”
Her successes haven’t come without hard work and she admits it can be a struggle in summer to balance sports with schoolwork.
“I play club, module and then my Touch Counties teams as well as training for sevens
which is something I’m really interested in.”
But the hard work seems to be paying off – she was awarded Most Valuable Player for the Counties U18s Touch Team at an awards ceremony on Saturday night.
Barlow is in the process of applying for scholarships to play for US universities next year but in the meantime she plans to keep training hard and working towards her goals.