Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: Rugby players need their mums on tour

I'm entirely convinced that if rugby teams only toured with the boys' mothers in attendance no rugby player would ever get in trouble. Photo / Supplied
I'm entirely convinced that if rugby teams only toured with the boys' mothers in attendance no rugby player would ever get in trouble. Photo / Supplied

I'm repeating myself simply because it's timely. I grew up in a house where the art on the walls was team photos of Dad's rugby teams. It didn't seem unusual. I thought every home was adorned with framed rugby team photos. My sister was an artist, and I somehow took the prizes at school for art history despite only knowing the works of that famous Kiwi artist "Team photographer".

I spent a lot of my childhood in the Ponsonby - when it wasn't flash - rugby clubrooms and the Otahuhu - which was never flash - clubrooms. I'm from a family of rugby players, selectors and coaches.

So I would like to apply to be the head of the NZRFU.

It's highly unlikely I'd ever be given the job: I'm a woman. I don't drink. And I don't have degrees in either business or marketing. What I do have is not enough experience in running a school functions committee, let alone a mega sports franchise. I am but a mother and a vocal supporter of rugby.

I can also talk the hind leg and ass off a donkey. Perhaps not enough credentials for the job? I do, however, strongly advocate that women should be at the head of rugby in New Zealand. Not a token woman. Not one or two women, but a lot of women.

I would like to see a lot of social or non-drinking women at the big table in the headquarters and heart of New Zealand rugby. Rugby needs a new culture, a completely new culture.

Is this too much? Have I stepped over the touch line?

What of this, then? Rugby tours do not take place without at least five of the team members' mothers. Left to me I would take every Polynesian mother on tour. There's nothing wrong with us other mums but, in my experience, Poly mums are the toughest of the tough. There is no nonsense with a Polynesian mum. Woe is to you who steps on the toes of a Pasifika matriarch. My plan is simple: The mums are not there to keep an eye on their own boys, but to keep their eyes on ALL the boys.

Ridiculous? I'm entirely convinced that if rugby teams only toured with the boys' mothers in attendance no rugby player would ever get in trouble. There would be no drinking issues. There would be no sexual indiscretions. There would be no shenanigans and there would be serious repercussions for bad behaviour.

Celia Lashlie constantly reminded us that boys need boundaries. Well hell, let's give them boundaries. Let's give them boundaries they can't lie to, sneak past or hood wink. Let's give them boundaries that get their asses in to bed by 10.00pm and go around with a torch in the night checking there are no escapes.

Something has to change. So many of our boys are getting in to the poop over and over again, and it seems the men in charge are unable to keep our top players on the straight and narrow.

Polynesian mothers on tour. It's worth consideration. How could it hurt? At the very worst a few lads might get a jandal around the ass for poor judgement. At best our boys won't be subjected to constant media scrutiny for salacious behaviour.

"Polynesian Mothers on Tour". You read it here first.

- NZME.

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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

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