Rugby parents outraged by overweight register
PARENTS have blown up at a junior rugby committee after it implemented a special register for overweight children and forces them to wear identifiable armbands.
The competition, based in New Zealand, has come under fire from parents over their decision to clearly separate the children.
New rules indicate that a child listed more than 10kg above the weight limit for their playing grade will be entered onto the overweight playing register and will be noted on the team sheet as being overweight.
Not only will they be forced to wear an identifiable armband for the duration of the game, the league has also included specific rules for the players who make the register.
The player cannot play in the front row of a scrum, take the ball off the back of a scrum if playing No 8, cannot tap and run with the ball if a penalty or free kick is awarded, cannot receive a free pass within five metres of the spot at penalty time, and cannot be used as a battering ram during general play.
Overweight children were originally required to wear yellow neon socks.
Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union chief executive Tony Hargood stated the rulings were implemented with the safety of the children in mind.
"We identified the yellow socks at a JAB meeting last week, it was a discussion with 10 people around the table. It included both men and women. Mothers were there too," Hargood said.
It was reported that none of the parents making the decision had children that were overweight.
Parents of the children on the register have reportedly decided their children won't be abiding by the rules implemented and will play the game normally.
Marcus Loader, whose 12-year-old son is on the register, is disgusted at the separation being introduced and the rules placed on his son.
"It's discrimination. We aren't going to make them wear anything different. They are children for God's sake. We are not abiding by these rules, they are self-conscious enough at this age," Loader said.
"This is a game for all sizes. You wouldn't tell a winger not to run fast so they can't get around these boys.
"It's rugby and it's a contact sport."
The bizarre implementation from the junior rugby union committee sounds eerily similar to comments made by AFL tribunal lawyer Jeff Gleeson during Nic Naitanui's hearing, which caught the ire of fans and legends of the game.
Gleeson argued that the height and weight of players has to "go into the basket of considerations" and that players have a duty of care to do what they can to avoid committing a reportable offence.
While the league cited player safety for the implementation of the armbands and register, don't expect the parents of the affected children to sit back and accept the ruling.
Whether or not the backlash will force them into reversing the decision however remains to be seen.