Last week, on Monday June 11, Goulburn local Ash Kara took the field for the ACT Brumbies in a history-making match against the Fiji women’s team.
This marked the first time in 21 years that the Brumbies played against an international side, since the US team visited in 1997.
When told of the opportunity, Kara was blown away.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“Getting the opportunity to play an international team is what I’ve dreamed of doing. It was phenomenal.”
Although the exhibition match ended in a 7-33 loss for the home team, Kara said that the Brumbies put up a mighty fight against highly skilled, international-calibre opponents.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of the girls, it was a good old fashioned arm wrestle,” she said.
“It took them 26 minutes to get on the board and we did everything in our power to score on them.
“[The score] was 14-0 at half time, we gave them our all before the second half. They came out of the second half firing everything at us.
“It was good in the dying minutes of the game that we could get some points on the board.”
Although the Brumbies performed well, the Fijians outclassed them in strength, technique, and mentality.
“I thought they were very disciplined, especially in the set pieces,” Kara said.
“They were very focused, they did not lapse one moment throughout the game. Their scrummaging, they had it all over us.
“They were stronger, more well connected, and so they should’ve been, they’re an international team.”
Despite the result, Kara said that she had a great time during the match and took it as an opportunity to test herself.
“I had fun. I enjoyed it, [and] threw myself in there,” she said.
“We were unlucky a few times to be thrown over the edge. I thought the backs did everything asked of them.”
The teams were given the opportunity to partake in a cultural exchange during a post-match function.
“It was a great function, being able to sit down with the Fijian women,” Kara said.
“They actually gave us a bit of their culture. Straight after the game we huddled up and they did their prayers and sang a song.
“We did an exchange of gifts, and then we were asked if we had any old Brumbies kit if we wanted to donate it to their players.
“I gave [my opposition number at fly-half] a couple of Brumbies shorts and shirts that I have. When I gave it to her her face was in awe.”
There have been discussions around making the fixture an annual event, and Kara said that she would relish any opportunity to repeat the experience.
“[It was] something I’ll always treasure and never forget. Hopefully we can make it an annual event,” she said.