Rugby Sevens: Black Ferns Sevens veteran Kelly Brazier targets Paris Olympics swansong as retirement looms

Black Ferns Sevens veteran Kelly Brazier is targeting a Paris Olympics swansong, after taking the first step into her post-playing career with a short-term coaching sabbatical in Japan.

Brazier will link with Japanese sevens outfit Brave Louve at the end of this season's world series, in her first role as a coach.

The 33-year-old has been a key figure in the women's game in Aotearoa, enjoying successful stints across both sevens and the 15-a-side game.

With the Black Ferns Sevens, Brazier was part of the side that won silver at the code's 2016 Olympic and went one better with a maiden gold at Tokyo 2021.

Kelly Brazier, Sarah Hirini and Portia Woodman with their Olympic gold medals in Tokyo.
Kelly Brazier, Sarah Hirini and Portia Woodman with their Olympic gold medals in Tokyo. Photo credit: Getty Images

With the Black Ferns, she won Rugby World Cups in 2010 and 2017, before committing her future to reduced format. 

Acknowledging she's approaching the end of her playing career, Brazier must now balance her playing and coaching commitments, although chasing a second gold at Paris 2024 is her priority. 

"It was probably the thing at the front of mind, when making this decision," Brazier said. "That is my end goal, I want to be in that team for Paris.

"If anything got in the way of that, it would be a straight no.

"It just works well with our leave from NZ Rugby. We get six weeks off  and It just fell in the right place at the right time.

"I'll be able to do that and then be back for our pre-season."

Another Olympic medal of any colour would only add to Brazier's incredible trophy cabinet.

The sevens veteran also has a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold, running the length of the field for the gamewinning try in the final, as well as World Cup wins in 2013 and 2018.

Should the NZ women top the podium at Paris, Brazier says she'd happily finish her playing career on her terms. 

"I've definitely thought about it. I've got to get there first - we've got some pretty tough competition in our team at the moment.

"My immediate thing is looking forward to the coaching, having some good time off away from the group, then just head down and working hard to the Paris Olympics.

"To be fair, I don't know if I'd carry on after that. I'm moving on a bit and have enjoyed my time there.

"If next year goes how I envision, it would be hard not to walk away from it."