As most players were starting to enjoy the off-season, Woden Valley Rams centre Kristian Nordin-Skipnes was on the other side of the world preparing to make his international debut for Norway.
Having moved to Australia from Norway as a baby, the 25-year-old was thrilled to pull on the red and blue jersey as the Norwegian’s secured a 30-24 win over the Czech Republic earlier this month.
“I was pretty proud to represent my family and the country but mum was stoked,” Nordin-Skipnes said. “They weren’t originally going to come over to watch but they ended up flying to Prague to watch the game.”
“She got to present me with my jersey as well which she loved so I think it meant the world to them.”
Having spent the year saving money to be able to afford the trip to Europe so he could play, the Woden centre was surprised by how well he handled the occasion.
“I was going in doing my own fitness and doing my own gym work. I was pretty worried that I wasn’t going to keep up in regards to my match fitness,” Nordin-Skipnes said. “I thought I was going to be a lot more nervous than I was but I just tried to enjoy the moment and not let the nerves take over.”
“I was pretty happy with my performance. I made one pretty bad error but I hadn’t played for a while because our competition finished five or six weeks ago.”
Nordin-Skipnes more than held his during the game and received good feedback from the Norwegian coach.
“The coach was really happy with my performance and said that if I could come back next year, the whole team and coaching staff would really appreciate it,” Nordin-Skipnes said. “Because it’s a very different game over in Norway, he said that any experience that I bring is going to do the boys the world of good.”
With the European Championships and qualification for the next World Cup on the radar, Nordin-Skipnes is hoping to be a part of Norway’s future success but he also has set goals for the 2018 season with Woden.
“I’m hoping for a big pre-season to try and impress all the coaching staff (at Woden) to get a spot in first grade, and then if Norway gives me the call, go back and represent them again.”