A 13-year-old girl is “absolutely gutted” to be sidelined from a Wellington rugby league tournament because rules state her grade is for boys only.
Pacific Youth Cup organisers told her team, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, if they play Aayla Toman on Saturday, refs will not allow the game to go ahead and the team will be withdrawn.
Previously, the team said they would risk disqualification and forfeit their points and play Aayla.
New Zealand Rugby League rules state the maximum age for males and females to play in mixed gender full-contact rugby league is 12 years of age.
It seems to me the rules are too restrictive and a rule designed to protect girls is harming them.
Absolutely there should be a girls only section, that is restricted to girls. That protects them.
But if a girl wants to play in a mixed team, and is willing to accept the greater risk of injury, they should be allowed to.
Basically what I would do is have a girls section and an open section.