Women’s Sevens

Hong Kong Sevens

Wrestler and movie stuntman to help Hong Kong women improve tackling

Three-time New Zealand champion shows how his skills can help fine-tune technique

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 9:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 11:14pm

To tap into the aggression required in the physical game of sevens, Anna Richards has enlisted Vince Roxburgh, a three-time national wrestling champion of New Zealand and movie stuntman, to teach her players wrestling once a week.

"Wrestling is forcing them to pull apart their tackling technique, analyse it, see what they do or don't do correctly, fix it, then put their technique back together again," says Roxburgh. "They've really taken to it.

It also highlights how easily bad technique can be taken advantage of – that lesson is equally important
Vince Roxburgh

"In rugby, the technique becomes so important. These girls are smaller than a lot of their opposition so their technique has to be correspondingly better to force the stoppage.

"Wrestling is great for highlighting, even to the smaller members of the team, that with good technique anyone can be taken down; it also highlights how easily bad technique can be taken advantage of - that lesson is equally important."

Though the Hong Kong-based Kiwi played rugby all his life, his real passion lies in Olympic wrestling. Before his retirement, he was ranked in the top 15 in the world.

In addition to improving the women's game, Roxburgh's wrestling talents also come in handy in his career as a personal trainer for local outfit, Apefit, and a stuntman on Hollywood movie sets.

"I literally fell into my career as a stuntman," jokes Roxburgh, a personal trainer for Apefit.

"I was [wrestling] training for the world championships out of my home gym in Auckland where the Lord of the Rings stunt team were training … they asked me if I could show them how to throw a person properly."

The rest is history.

He has worked on stunts in Avatar, Spartacus, Mad Max and The Hobbit and is in New Zealand working as a stunt double on a movie about post-apocalyptic cowboys.