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Phaidra Knight

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Phaidra talks with Nathalie Marchino Nathalie Marchino, a star of Team USA.
PK: You aren’t from around. Where are you from and how long have lived in the USA?
NM: I’m not sure what gave that away… was it the accent? It’s always the accent!!! Since you’re on to me, I’ll oblige: I’m originally from Switzerland – where I was raised – but was born in Colombia, where my mom is from. I just celebrated my 13th year in the US on August 28th! Almost half my life!

PK: Do you plan on ever playing in your native country?
NM: To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know that they played rugby in Switzerland until recently when I met a Canadian player that played for the Swiss national team. Go figure. That said, you never know what life may throw at you, so while that’s not really something I am planning at the moment, never say never.

PK: Good answer. How long have you played rugby and exactly how did you get into it?
NM: I started playing rugby spring of 2005 in DC. I was essentially sequestered by a group of DC Furies, who brought me to a practice on the Washington Mall – despite my numerous, very explicit statements that I would probably never play rugby. I got my own personal tackling session and I never looked back.

PK: You are the 13th person I’ve heard say that about The Furies. God bless them for finding you. They rock! Now Nath, your feet move like magic on the pitch. Have you always moved that fast or was it something you had to work at?
NM: Oh man, Phaidra. You’re such a sweet-talker!
PK: I try…
NM: Well I’d like to think that I was born with magic feet, but I’m sure the 100s of hours of ladders that I’ve done since playing basketball in college didn’t hurt. Also, having the basketball background is definitely a plus. You use a lot of the same footwork in rugby and it definitely opened my field vision too.

PK: What has been your best international rugby tour?
NM: Any tour you were a part of Phaidra! I’d have to say 2010 World Cup. It was just a year ago that we got back from England and I wish I were still there. It was so much fun to play against the World’s best and England did a good job with the event.

PK: Okay, let’s lighten this up a little. I hear you do a MAD impression of Duann in the Bon Qui Qui skit (in fact, I know this first hand). Show us a little.
NM: Hey wassup, Bon Qui Qui! Yeah I think I have some footage somewhere, I’ll see what I can dig up. You might have to get the rights to show Vanesha McGee & Hannah Stolba in the video though. And potentially Mad TV.

PK: I called on a couple of your USA Teammates for a few questions. USA Teammate and fellow back three player Vanesha McGee wants to know who’s better at performing “Rolling in the Deep” – you or Adele? She also asked what was the best musical lip sync performance you’ve ever done?
NM: Well, I think that Adele and I would compliment each other well, if only she would hire me as her backup dancer/singer!!! (Adele, if you’re reading this, which I am sure you are, please call me). I got an insane array of really solid backup dancing moves – the kind required behind a standup mic –but most importantly my backup vocals for Rolling in the Deep are pretty spot on.
As far as best musical lip sync, I think that Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” with Vanesha McGee, Muse’s “Starlight” with Allyson Hemstreet and “Lion Sleeps Tonight” or “Grand Ol’ Flag” with an accompanying cast of singers comprised of whomever isn’t sick of me in the ice baths might be my top three choices. However, “Starlight” was completely acapella so that might take first place.

PK: Also known to you as “Little Chui”, USA Teammate Ashley Kmiecik wants to know if you could make a baby with any rugby player in the world, who would it be and why?
NM: Ha! OkAY… I would say either Dan Carter, cause I think he’s the most complete active rugby player there is at the moment, plus having his looks doesn’t hurt his case. Or… wait for it,… Sebastien Chabal. Don’t judge me. And don’t ask me why; I can’t explain it. It just is what it is.

PK: Dang, that would be one freak of nature human being, not to mention an insane rugby player!
NM: Well, one of those would lean more on the freak of nature side of things than the other…

PK: Let’s switch gears for a second. Looking forward in rugby. The Olympics. Rio De Janeiro. You planning on going as an athlete or spectator?
NM: Rioooooo! That would be a dream come true, so hopefully as a player. There is a long road ahead of us so I don’t want to get too carried away but as cliché as this may sound, representing the U.S.A. in Rio would be an honor, a privilege and a dream come true. Just a couple of years ago, this wasn’t even an option for rugby players, so to be able to envision this in the near future is unbelievable. And if that doesn’t workout, then maybe Adele and I can perform the national anthem live when the US takes gold! You heard it here first!!! You’re welcome, Rugby Wrapup.

Marchino, Groefsema, McGee

PK: And what do you think it will take for Team USA to bring home the gold?
NM: A lot of hard work, a lot of preparation, and a lot of support from our families, friends, fans and USA Rugby. We know the players will take care of the first two, hopefully the rest will fall into place.

PK: Nathalie, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I look forward to announcing your name many times on many rugby occasions, including the 2016 Olympics. You will be a force in bringing home that gold!
NM: Always a pleasure, Phaidra. Thank you for always doing what you can to raise awareness for women’s rugby. Hopefully see you in Rio!!