19 Jun 2019

Girl told she can't play for 1st XV in school rugby tournament

1:46 pm on 19 June 2019

An 11-year-old girl playing for her school's 1st XV rugby team has been told her team wouldn't get any points if she takes to the field in an upcoming tournament.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Five principals from schools around Hawke's Bay made the decision not to let Briar Hales from Havelock North Intermediate play.

She has been told she should play for the girl's team - not the boys.

Spokesman for the schools' sports co-ordinators and principals, Michael Sisam, who is principal of Heretaunga Intermediate, said principals of the other five intermediate schools opposed Briar being in the HNI boys' team, because there was a girls team in the seven-a-side rugby competition she could play for.

Ellery Wilson, a development officer for the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union, told Morning Report the schools were welcome to make that call.

"I suppose it's just for the people that run that competition to have their own rules," he said.

"How they enforce them is, I suppose, up to those five principals."

Mr Wilson said girls and boys played together until they reached high school in New Zealand Rugby-sanctioned competitions.

Because it was a school-run competition, the Union had no power to enforce its rules.

Havelock North Intermediate principal Julia Beaumont told RNZ : "Everyone at this school really supports women in rugby.

"We have had girls in our 1st XV for years and never had a problem, it's always been supported by the other schools we play against.

"They've said this decision will be under review."

Briar's father, Dean, told Stuff she was "quite upset" when he told her of the decision.

"She asked me why, and I had to tell her someone thought girls shouldn't be in the team," he said.

"It goes against everything me and her mum have told her in the past."

Stuff reported Briar had pulled out of the team as a result of the decision.