Black Ferns loose forward Kennedy Simon MNZM has been retained as Chiefs Manawa captain ahead of the 2024 Sky Super Rugby Aupiki season.
It will be Simon’s second season leading the Chiefs Manawa after the retirement of Les Elder.
“Kennedy drives the standards and lives the values. She cares deeply for her teammates and is always looking inward at how she can be better. She’s a weapon on the field and a fabulous role model off it,” Chiefs Manawa head coach Crystal Kaua said.
Simon said she had learnt to find what makes each player “tick’ or to find what gets them “really firing”.
“Making sure I have great connections off the field for me is a big part of success in my book.
“We’re tracking really well. We’ve come in off a heavy break but I think everyone has been able to train over the Christmas period. We’ve been able to come and just really focus on rugby.
‘It’s amazing to have an extended competition. I think it’s cool that we’ve got straight knock-out finals. For us, it’s going to be about building blocks. Making sure we nail our on-field, off-field, our nutrition but most of all having fun.”
Chiefs Manawa number 10 Simon was part of the inaugural side in 2021 and has made nine appearances for the franchise.
The 27-year-old made her Black Ferns debut in 2019 after touring Japan with the Black Ferns Sevens Development team earlier that year and has since become the national co-captain.
Simon is also a member of the Hamilton Old Boys Huskiez club team and the Waikato Farah Palmer Cup side she debuted for in 2013 while still at Hamilton Girls’ High School.
In the 2023 King’s Birthday and Coronation honours, Simon was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to rugby.
“We always appreciate our fans and supporters, especially our young ones. They come with a sparkle in their eye. All we’re trying to do is play some beautiful footy. To everybody that comes and supports, not only the Chiefs, but also women in rugby we appreciate your support,’ Simon said.
“It’s always our favourite part, coming off the field. No matter what happens, we know our fans appreciate us and really love what we do. To get out, shake some hands and take some photos, it’s always a pleasure.”
The Chiefs Manawa have now assembled to prepare for their first match of the season, which will be played at FMG Stadium Waikato on March 2 against the Hurricanes Poua.
Tickets are available now from chiefs.flicket.co.nz.
- NZ Herald
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