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Relationships

All Black Jack Goodhue's down-on-the-farm proposal

Country lad Jack has swept city slicker Sophia Eblett off her feet. But the All Black is remaining tight-lipped on whether his famous mullet will stick around for the wedding.

Standing on the rolling paddocks of his family's Kawakawa dairy farm in the Bay of Islands, All Black sensation Jack Goodhue pulled an engagement ring from the back of his trackpants pocket.
Brunette beauty Sophia Eblett was peering into the windows of an abandoned farmhouse as he nervously started dropping to one knee. But before the young sportsman could do a full lunge, she turned around.
"He started to say my full name, Sophia Florina Violet Eblett, but it was taking too long and after Florina, I stopped him and said 'Yes!'" beams the bride-to-be, who is now busy with wedding preparation
while Jack's in Japan for the Rugby World Cup.
The All Black's fiancée has taken quite a fancy to the game now!
Before her teary engagement acceptance, Sophia, 22, had asked a few times for a ride on Jack's parents' quad bike. "I didn't expect the proposal at all and had just been excited about getting on the farm bike."
Jack, 24, who stepped on the field as an All Black for the first time last June, laughs at the memory. "I wanted to save the quad trip to make the proposal more memorable, but by about the 11th time she asked, it was getting beyond a joke," he tells.
"When we finally got on it, I couldn't get it into reverse and had to get my dad down from the balcony to help! I was nervous but there's no excuse for not being able to put the quad in reverse."
Nevertheless, the moment was perfect for Sophia, who jokingly shrugs, "I just thought maybe he couldn't ride a quad bike."
For farm boy Jack, growing up helping his folks move cattle and playing rugby on the back lawn was a far cry from Sophia's urban upbringing in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland.
"My grandpa liked big All Blacks games, but other than that, nobody followed rugby," says Sophia, a nutrition and natural medicine student.
"My family was more into soccer, and I did lots of sports like swimming, surf lifesaving, tennis, gymnastics, dancing and cheerleading."
But there were a couple of similarities between Sophia and her future hubby. The bride-to-be was brought up Christian, with Jack finding the same faith at 16. And as fate had it, both attended Auckland's Mount Albert Grammar School.
"Jack and his twin brother Josh really stood out because they're two big blond blokes," Sophia smiles. "I remember nudging a friend when Jack walked past and her saying, 'Aw, he's not for you,' and I literally never thought anything of it again! We actually never spoke at high school."

When the pair connected on social media early last year, Jack remembered the "gorgeous girl who loved animals" from their teenage days. Christchurch-based Jack and Sophie arranged to meet for coffee when the All Blacks were in Auckland.
A quick catch-up turned into four hours. "We talked into the evening and then Sophia couldn't find her car!" remembers Jack, who helped his sweet-natured date search for her vehicle.
They continued chatting over the phone and realised how well their morals and beliefs aligned.
"Christian faith is very important to both of us and having that as a foundation meant we wanted the same thing," Jack explains. "We hadn't just gone on a date for the sake of it. We were both looking for a serious partner and 'the one'. The tipping point was having the same sense of humour."
They decided to start a long-distance romance in May last year and Jack was smitten. "She's focused on her study and doesn't go out clubbing or partying, and is always the person her friends come to talk about their issues," he enthuses. "Soph also got to know more about rugby because of me and I appreciate that."
When Jack decided to propose, he wanted the engagement ring to be special. Sophia proudly shows off the platinum sparkler her man designed, set with dazzling pear and shoulder diamonds.
"Early on, I asked her what type of ring she'd like if things were to progress nicely," the rugby player grins. "I looked at a few photos and got someone to put it together."
While most of their wedding plans are in place, including a venue in the Far North, there's one major factor yet to be decided.
"Will I keep my mullet for the wedding? That'll be revealed on the day," Jack says cheekily. "It's become bigger than me and who am I to take away the inspiration it's given a few kids? But it might get shaved off in the middle of the night by Soph, so we'll see."
Planning their nuptials close to Christmas, the couple are looking forward to a traditional affair, including guests and fellow All Blacks Ryan Crotty, David Havili, George Bridge and Richie Mo'unga, and Crusaders Bryn Hall and Tim Bateman.
While Sophia misses the rugby star while he's currently overseas, she's happy he's doing what he loves.
"There's going to be a lot of long distance in the future because of rugby, but we trust each other and I have my own things going on," she smiles. "To know we've done the distance before and it works out well is great."

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