Teenage Girl Tackling Men’s Club Rugby
A teenage girl in Southland has been allowed to play with the big boys, with April Miller, 18, taking to the field at lock in what is typically men’s club rugby.
Despite admitting to some early nerves, Miller has become an integral part of the Pukerau Rugby Club’s senior men’s team in the Southland-wide President’s Grade competition.
“At first I was kinda scared but they treat me the same – I just played it like it was a normal game,” Miller told Fairfax Media.
The club has asked opposition teams if they wanted to play against her and all have been happy to.
Miller grew up in a rugby-mad family and played her juniors with a number of female sides, but she believed she would need to give up the game aged 18 because there was not a single senior women’s rugby club in Southland.
Still busting to play, Miller found herself in uncharted waters.
“I thought I feel like playing rugby again so I asked if I could play and they said ‘yes’,” Miller said. “I thought they were only joking but they weren’t. They found me a jersey and we went from there.”
Miller has become a regular try-stopper and is enjoying every minute of the action.
“It’s good to be playing with people who know how to play. I like the sport and being brought up around it – I just wanted to play.”
April’s granddad Harold and dad Wayne both played for Southland and uncle Paul Miller was an All Black.
Pukerau Rugby Club president Jack McIntosh said April was a “good player”.
“She’s an aggressive tackler, a good ball carrier – she doesn’t hang off,” McIntosh said.
Original story published on ESPN. Also reported on BBC.
Image credit: Twitter.