SPORTS

New Zealand rugby captain Sarah Goss excels off the field at sheep-shearing

04/19/2015 12:42 EDT | Updated 07/08/2015 05:59 EDT
LANGFORD, B.C. - Elite rugby player and competitive sheep-shearer. New Zealand's Sarah Goss has a resume unlike few others.

The five-foot-eight 186-pound forward is hard to miss on the rugby field, leaping in the air to collect kickoffs like an Aussie Rules Football veteran. But she also knows her way around a set of shears.

"I grew up on a farm and we had heaps of sheep and we had to shear them," Goss explained. "And my dad's quite good at it. So I just learned from him and it kind of went from there."

Goss and her brother competed at it for some five years, travelling around New Zealand. While sheep come in different sizes, the 22-year-old Goss says she could take care of one in about a minute.

"In competition, they're quite well-groomed and you can get around them quite fast," she said.

Goss, a native of Palmerston North, focuses more on rugby these days. Apparently sheep-shearing takes a toll.

"It's too hard on my body," she said. "My back gets quite sore when I do it."

Goss has concentrated on the sevens side of rugby the last two years, moving over from the 15-woman game with an eye to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.

Goss and her teammates are continuing the winning traditions of All Blacks rugby.

Going into play Sunday, the New Zealand women had won 33 games straight with an overall record of 67-5-2 since the women's series began in 2012. The Kiwis' last defeat was to Australia in the final of the Sao Paulo Sevens on Feb. 22, 2014.

The sevens captain says winning is expected.

"We come from a rugby nation and this is what we do back home. And we like winning and we'll do everything we can to try and put good performances out on the park."

Goss says she will leave Victoria with a new appreciation of Canada.

"It's amazing. I suppose it's a lot like New Zealand — the weather," she said.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

MORE:cpSports