Championship Canterbury women's rugby team smashing life on and off field

The Canterbury women in red and black are rugby champions and prime examples of why women's rugby in Aotearoa has never been so popular.

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The team in red and black are prime examples of why New Zealand women’s rugby has never been so popular. Source: Seven Sharp

Mum-of-three Te Rauoriwa Gapper does the hard yards at training and in life. Her real work starts early and her starting line-up aren't always lining up for school.

"The other day I was talking to the girls and I was like, 'The kids were so good today, got two loads of washing, vacuumed the house before I left'," she told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

"They're like, 'Oh my gosh, I just woke up and had breakfast'."

For Gapper, rugby is life after whānau.

"You always have to go back to your 'why'," she says.

"You've got to have the passion behind it, because it's a lot of hours."

Her husband James gets home at around 4.30pm - just as Gapper's heading to training.

"If I had half her mental toughness I'd still be playing," he says.

Gapper was 17 when she had Jakoby. It pushed her to work even harder.

"I don't want everyone to think I'm just this young parent... a young Māori parent who's going to sit back and live off the Government," she says.

"So I worked really hard to make sure I've got the support of my family and my parents too, to crash those stereotypes and be a good role model for my kids."

Crash she did, and crash she does on the field.

Coach Blair Baxter is in his first year of coaching the top gals. 

"The changing room on Saturday blew my mind," he says.

"The energy you get off them... then they went out and performed like they did."

Baxter says the team constantly go above and beyond.

"[They've won] three titles, well I think you can see... training starts at 6pm they're here at 4.45pm, 5pm."

These rugby stars are shining examples of the game.

"Rugby's not a boys' sport, rugby's a sport," Gapper says.