With their first game of the NRL Women’s Premiership against the Roosters done and dusted, winger Langi Veainu has been able to tap into some valuable advice.
She is the sister of rugby player, Telusa Veainu, who played for the Highlanders, Crusaders and Rebels before heading to Leicester in the English Premiership.
Telusa is three years older than Langi and although he lives on the other side of the world, she says they stay in regular contact, particularly before each big game Langi plays.
“We always chat,” Langi said.
“Before I go out onto the field he calls me or sends a message and gives me tips like stay calm and focus on my role, for me to do my job out there and then everything else will come naturally.”
Telusa is best remembered in New Zealand for a stunning 95m try he scored for the Crusaders against the Highlanders in 2013, showing an incredible sidestep and turn of pace, that’s clearly a family trait.
“It gave me motivation to compete,” Langi said of how Telusa inspired her.
“There was the feeling that I want to be just like my brother and be on the world stage, showcasing my talent.
“I’d watch him train and play and that motivated me to want to be like him. He was definitely a big help.”
Sport has always been a big thing in the Veainu family. Langi has six brothers and four sisters and she describes her parents as ‘amazing.’
Naturally in such a big family, there was a fair amount of competition among the siblings.
“We were always having cricket games and playing different kinds of sports out on the front lawn, competing with each other,” Langi said.
“It was always fun to come together and compete with each other in sports, while we did have a few scraps here and there!”
Langi and Telusa aren’t the only ones keen on a sporting career, their sister, Katofoekina is in the Counties Manukau rugby team and her younger brothers have been making strides in rugby and league.
Her career has advanced further in league, having already played for the Kiwi Ferns and she’s still unsure what she’d do if both national teams wanted her.
However, the 24-year-old is reaching her peak at a crucial time in both codes for women as players are now getting paid and it’s becoming that can be considered a serious career move.
“It’s definitely a huge opportunity to play and get paid for it,” she said.
“I’m grateful anyway for being able to play the sport I love, but having that pay on top is like a bonus.”