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
How does she feel about playing alongside her
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.”