Rugby Legend Phaidra Knight Interviews Team USA Star Kelly Griffin

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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, Kelly Griffin.

PK: Kelly, thanks for chatting with me today.
Kelly: It’s a pleasure Phaidra. I hope all is well with you.
PK: Life is good in NYC.  So, life in Chula Vista in a house of rugby players must be AWESOME but seriously, who are you ready to throw off the roof?  (Talk about the experience good and not so good if that applies.)
Kelly: It is pretty awesome now that you mention it. We get along really well. It helps that we were creative so everyone has their own space to retreat to when they need alone time. On our off days we often hang out. For instance on Wednesday, Jill and Bui bbq’d for us so we could all chill in our backyard together.
PK: Sounds like you all have it worked out to a science. That’s great. How long have you been playing rugby and were lock and prop your first positions?
Kelly: I started playing rugby at UCLA in 2004. I was a flanker for the first couple years of college. Since it was a pretty new team I actually played every 15s position at some point in college… only a couple minutes each at prop and lock. 🙂
PK: I know that rugby is obviously your fave now, but what other sports did you play growing up?
Kelly: I mostly played basketball growing up. I started basketball when I was 6 and played through high school. I also played a fair amount of soccer as well.
PK: When you sat there watching Anamaniacs as a kid, did you ever think you would become a World Class athlete?  Was there a character from the show that inspired you or that you could relate to?
Kelly: Hmmm. Interesting question. Honestly, I don’t think Anamaniacs has much to do with inspiring me to be an athlete. I mostly thought it was really funny and I enjoyed the sarcasm.
PK: Fun Fact Time.  Tell us something really fun or weird about you or that you have done in your life that most don’t know.
Kelly: One thing that often surprises people is that my dad and I went bungee-jumping on Father’s Day when I was 12 year’s old. It was scary but also super fun!
PK: Okay, back to rugby.  Who are your biggest influences from the game?
Kelly: I have so many great rugby influences. I’d have to start with all the coaches who I’ve played for who pushed me to be better. Also, I’ve played with so many great athletes including the 7 girls I get to train with everyday.
PK: Looking back on your last 3 international events—what are a couple of the most important things you took from them to improve upon, individually, going into London 7s?
Kelly: My personal goals for the upcoming tournament are to stick to my fundamentals and to truly connect with my teammates on the field because when there is a connection, that is when rugby magic happens.

Griffin finds opening in Phaidra's NYRC's defense.

PK: What are 3 things Team USA needs from the US rugby community at large to help bring home The Cup next year?
Kelly: I think USA has a great rugby community. Like any team moral support and financial support are critical to success. I guess a third would be having friends, family and fans in the stands cheering for us.
PK: Kelly, thanks for your time today!  We look forward to seeing you in London!
Kelly: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and putting women’s rugby out there!