Former All Black 7’s star, Damian Karauna, first came to Wales to play for the Ospreys. Injury prevented us seeing the best of him on the field for them, but we got to see glimpses of his talents when he turned out for Swansea. He combined an occasional playing role with us, with his position at the Ospreys as their rugby analysis operator. Having retired from playing Damo’ began to do some coaching and this season joined us as part of Jason’s back room staff.
(Above: Damian playing for Ospreys v Bath at Liberty Stadium - Oct 2005, photo: Dragon Tales Rugby)
An animated figure at training and coaching from the touchlines on match days, I asked him about rugby and his life away from it.
What was the highlight of your playing time with Swansea ?
Saying much about his Kiwi winning mentality, Damo’s first response was we didn’t win anything during his playing time with us, but he did go on to say beating Neath, at home in the league, after the cup semi final defeat the week before, was probably his best playing moment for the Whites.
How are you coping with not playing any more ?
Fine, really well, I’m happy getting my fix of rugby from coaching, mind you I wouldn’t mind a few over 36’s games !
As a Kiwi gives us your reflections on the recent World Cup ?
The Blacks were the team that hit the standard and got it right, at the right time. I was really proud of the boys. You have to say that Wales were the only other side in the tournament that played an attractive style of rugby.
What is your rugby philosophy ?
Back to basics and keep it simple !
What do you do to relax ?
Spending time with my family, taking the kids to the park and for me time, reading I’m currently working my way through the Twilight Saga
What are your thoughts as we return to league action against Newport today ?
We are starting to find our feet, after changing lots of patterns of play and squad members, this season. With a very young team, as we see the patterns become more natural and the team gel, I think exciting times are ahead.
Newport have traditionally always been strong opponents, but I am sure we will soon be turning narrow loses into wins.
Damo’s desire to win, playing good rugby is evident to all who see him at work. I’m sure what he and the other coaches are working so hard to achieve, will soon come through in results on the pitch. Let’s hope it starts with a win against Newport at today’s game.
Our postponed bucket collection for the club’s chosen charity, The Rhodri Jones Memorial Fund, for bone cancer research, will take place at half time today. We so far raised nearly £450 towards our 2K target. Please give as generously as you can.
Our next fundraising event, after today, will be a collection at the Club’s Annual Christmas Carol Service, which will take place on Thursday December 8th. It is a 7.30 pm kick off, at Pantygwydr Baptist Church, just up the hill from St Helens, on the junction of Gwydr Crescent and Ernald Place. We are delighted that the Osprey’s supporter’s choir will be entertaining us and alongside the chance for us to sing some traditional carols, the Christmas readings will be taken by players, committee and coaches. There will be some Christmas refreshments to round off the evening. Do come and bring friends and family to join us for what promises to be a good night.
Enjoy the game