Life could have been very different for Royal Air Force and England Rugby star Amy Cokayne had her teacher not interpreted her words slightly different than perhaps they were intended.
Growing up in New Zealand - due to her father’s role with the Royal New Zealand Air Force - Amy was destined to play for the country to which her family had emigrated.
Shining brightly at an early age the talented player was called up to the Kiwi squad, but a chance conversation with her teacher changed her entire future.
Amy’s Dad, Squadron Leader Ian Cokayne explains:
“Amy was doing really well at rugby over there, and her school teacher asked her if she wanted to play for New Zealand or England as she was in the New Zealand squad”
“She said there’s no possibility of playing for England, he took that as she wanted to play for England - and rang England up”
“They were coming over on a tour so they sat down with me and Amy’s mum and talked over the options then we left Amy with the choice. Did she want to play for New Zealand or try and play for England?”
"She chose England so we came back"
Amy is not the only rugby professional in the family.
Dad Ian is a coach with the RAF Women’s side and Litchfield, while brother Tom has featured for the Rifles Rugby Team.
Tom is keen to follow the progress of his sister wherever he can, but it has proved a struggle at times - especially during a tour of Iraq.
"It was frustrating I couldn’t see the games, we had WiFi over there but you couldn’t ever load the videos so you’d see Amy had scored. I think she scored a hat trick in one of the games when I was away and it’s frustrating you could only read about it" he said.
Amy will take a short sabbatical from her rugby duties due to Officer Training at RAF Cranwell, as she prepares to commission into the Royal Air Force Police.
When she does make a full return, brother Tom has given both his sister and her RAF teammates a full-blooded military challenge:
"It’s all well and good beating the Navy but, if you can’t beat the Army - what’s that about?"