For 6-year-old Maddy Hales bringing down opposition players on the rugby pitch is simple.
“You have to take out their legs and use your shoulders to tackle.”
The rugby mad Maddy, even though still too young for tackle rugby, loves that part of the the game so much she practices her tackling at home
Along with big sister Briar, 8, the pair are two of 19,792 female players around the country to step onto the rugby pitch last year.
That number increased by thirty per cent between 2012 and 2015, making women’s rugby the highest area of player growth in the sport.
Great to see.
Dean Hales coaches his daughters’ teams at the Clive Rugby Club in Hawke’s Bay.
He was initially surprised when Briar came home from school as a five-year-old asking to play rugby.
But he said the sport was good for girls, who trained hard and listened well.
This year was the second season for Maddy, who said scoring tries was her favourite part of the game.
There’s something magical about a try. I love seeing a cricket ball go over the boundary and a football go into the net but nothing quite beats the thrill of seeing a rugby player cross the try line and touch down.