New Fern Baker’s try spree rewarded – Wairarapa Times
Eketahuna midfield back Shakira Baker is a new face in the Black Ferns women’s rugby squad named to prepare for a three-test series against England in England in November.
Baker, 19, a former pupil of Greytown School and Wairarapa College who is now studying at Victoria University is “really excited” about her selection in a line-up which also includes Eketahuna first-five Rebecca Mahoney, a member of last year’s World Cup-winning side.
While she was always hopeful of a Black Ferns call-up after earlier being included in an extended national training squad, Baker wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“I knew I had a chance but I didn’t want to get too carried away, you can never be sure if you’ve done enough.”
Baker took up rugby in 2009 and virtually from the moment she joined Eketahuna she was being touted as a Black Fern in-waiting.
Virtually all her rugby has been played in the midfield backs – usually at centre – where she has used a mix of speed and strength to become a prolific try-scorer, both for Eketahuna on the club scene and Wellington at provincial level.
The 2011 season has been especially fruitful, with Baker touching down 25 times for an Eketahuna side which took out the Wellington championship for the first time, and also being a regular try-scorer for Wellington, which finished runner-up in the NPC competition.
For Baker, however, the most satisfying aspect of this season’s play has been the improvement she has made in defence, an area in which she readily concedes there was plenty of room for it.
“I never really liked the contact stuff too much but this season I’ve worked a lot harder getting that right and I guess it’s paid off.”
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