The only girl in a school’s first XV rugby team in New Zealand has been told that if she plays in an upcoming tournament her team will be banned from earning any points.
Briar Hales, 11, a Year 7 Havelock North Intermediate student has pulled out of her team following the disapproval of five school principals who opposed her playing with the boys.
She has played since she was five – always in mixed teams and often as the only girl. She also plays 11th grade for her club, Tamatea.
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Briar’s father Dean, who is assistant coach of the team, revealed to Stuff that she was “quite upset” when he told her she may not be able to play in the competition.
“She asked me why, and I had to tell her someone thought girls shouldn’t be in the team. It goes against everything me and her mum have told her in the past,” he said.
“It’s like going back decades. I thought those days were over. Briar is a skilled and competitive player who is in this team through merit. She sets high standards for herself and wants to play the best teams she can. She’s earned the right to play.” he said.