More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Mother and daughter head to Pacific Games

Monday 30 October 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Pacific Games 2023, Sports


Mother and daughter head to Pacific Games
Julieanne Westrupp (Julz) with daughter Tashi Kopu. 23102705/23102706

Not many parents get to compete alongside their children at an international tournament, but for Julieanne Westrupp, it is a privilege to have her 15- year- old daughter Tashi Kopu joining her to the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Known to many as Julz, Westrupp says at the Pacific Games next month she hopes to further increase the development of Cook Islands young players. 

“Making podium will be nice and if possible winning gold would be icing on the cake.”

Westrupp had also represented the Cook Islands in the last Pacific Games in Samoa saying she has been representing the country at international tournaments since 2003, where she played touch rugby in all games, except 2011 where she played rugby 7s.

The 48-year-old started playing touch at the age of 17.

And now her daughter, Tashi who just turned 15 in September, is following in her footsteps.

She said: “I am pretty privileged as not many parents get to play alongside their kids at international level.”

Tashi Kopu says for her, she started playing touch rugby at the age of 12 and feels she was inspired by her mum.

“My mum forced me to play when I was 12-years-old as her team was short. Today I guess I am now inspired by her as I now have skills and determination to play at an open grade level.”

Though she preferred playing netball, since she has been playing the sport when she was five-years- old, she has also played rugby 7s and league 9s with her mum at open grade level.

For the Pacific Games, Kopu says she is happy but the training has been hard.

However, she says: “Proud to follow in my mum's footsteps.”

How does she feel about playing alongside her mum?

Kopu said: “Happy and nervous.  My mum tends to yell at me from time to time but I know her expectations are high.  Makes me stronger though.”

Advice to those young ones who wish to go into the field of rugby, Westrupp said: “It's the hard yards and commitment that will get those results.  Making sacrifices and working hard.  Always respecting the coach and your team.  Proving that you deserve a spot in the team by walking the talk.”

Stay humble, she added.