Rugby Interview: USA Legend Phaidra Knight & USA Star Lynelle Kugler

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A perennial Team USA Eagle, Phaidra Knight is one of the most recognized names in women’s rugby. Her home club is the New York Rugby Club. Today, she chats with Team USA star, Lynelle Kugler.
PK:  Hey, Lynelle.  So good to connect again. How is life in the Midwest?
Lynelle: Life in the Midwest is really good. We had a really mild Winter & I absolutely love the Spring and Summer in Minnesota!
PK:  Awesome.  I don’t think it would really matter where you lived, Lynelle – life would still be good!
Lynelle: I’d like to think so 🙂
PK:  Growing up, did you play sports with your siblings?  If so, who always won?
Lynelle: I really liked to run when I was growing up but wasn’t really into sports until probably 3rd grade (I sat in the outfield during t-ball games). I do remember playing tackle basketball with my older brother & cousins; I don’t think those games really ended well for anyone except my oldest cousin…
PK:  I understand that you started playing rugby in Northern Colorado.  Were you in college at the time?  Any particular reason why you started at prop?
Lynelle: I started at the end of my freshman year in college. While I was the fastest person on the team, unfortunately, I was also the biggest, so they made me a prop.
PK:  You eventually made your way to the back row.  What prompted that move?
Lynelle: I was fortunate enough to play ERRFU (Eastern Rockies LAU) U-23s for a coach who thought I would make a good back row player.
PK:  When did you actually debut with Team USA (15s and 7s)?
Lynelle: I debuted for 7’s at Hong Kong 2004. I played on some “A” side events for 15’s but my first cap wasn’t until August 2008 against England.
PK:  If you had to pick an animal that you most resembled in play on the pitch, which would it be?
Lynelle: I’m going to go with a badger – they look cute but are super nasty if you try to mess with them!
PK:  What has been your most embarrassing moment in life, hands down?
Lynelle: I’m sure I’ve had some pretty embarrassing moments, but nothing really stands out. I just laugh at myself and move on.
PK:  What role do you foresee yourself in as far as rugby is concerned in 10 years time?
Lynelle: I currently help coach Carleton Women’s Rugby Team & have been able to work a little bit with the Minnesota U23 team, so I’m hoping I can become more involved in coaching & be able to give back to the game that has given me so much.
PK:  You have one Rugby World Cup under your belt.  You are on the journey for a 2nd.  Identify 3 things that will be essential to Team USA playing in the final in 2014.
Lynelle: That’s a tough question. Having played in multiple World Cups, you know how much work & dedication goes into each one.  There are countless key components that will be necessary to make the Final in 2014. To me, the most important will be mental toughness, obtaining international 15’s experience & playing with heart.
PK:  Well, I hope you achieve whatever you go after, Lynelle. And thanks for stopping by RWU?
Lynelle: Thank you, Phaidra.