If Rotorua's Polly Playle approaches her new job with the same energy and enthusiasm she does playing rugby, the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union are onto a winner.

The Bay of Plenty Volcanix and Rotoiti rugby star is the new Central Bay of Plenty junior rugby officer and is looking forward to inspiring as many children as possible to give the sport a go.

"I'm just really passionate about the game and seeing kids come out of their shells when they're playing. Also, this year, we're trying to put more focus on girls' rugby because there are so many opportunities for them these days, we want to show them those pathways.

"I thought it was a good opportunity for me to shine some positivity on the game for girls," she said.


Her main role in the new position will be running programmes to introduce children to rugby.

"I'll be going into schools and trying to get kids interested in rugby. I'll be taking skills and drills and games, fun ways of learning the basics.

"I'll also be making sure they know there are opportunities out there to play sport with your friends. We'll be holding small fun-days for schools to get involved in and let the kids have a go and have some fun.

"The long term goal is just to have more kids involved in rugby and being active."

Polly Playle in action for the Bay of Plenty Volcanix last season. Photo / File
Polly Playle in action for the Bay of Plenty Volcanix last season. Photo / File

She said children received many benefits through playing sport, especially team sports like rugby.

"There are a lot of life skills; co-operation, communication, team work. You have to show commitment and dedication. It's good to be part of a team environment and you can learn how things operate in a team.

"We want to make sure players are safe too, learning the proper tackling technique and things like that."

Playle played rugby all through secondary school and said the female side of the game has changed a lot since then.


"The change is immense. A lot of ladies now know the rules, what you can and can't do, they're starting to take initiative and get fit on their own, starting pre-season a lot earlier.

"The skills and the quality is a lot better as well. I think having people to look up to now helps as well, knowing there's a pathway and it can be done. Obviously you've got the Black Ferns players, everyone knows who they are, they inspire everyone, not just girls."

Central Bay of Plenty rugby manager Lipi Sinnott said he was excited about having Playle in the role.

"Sitting and talking to her, she has a passion, that's for sure. A passion to help get kids involved in sport and active.

"I think for local rugby, and now that the girls' and women's rugby is on the up, her role is very, very important. She's a role model too, she's played for the Volcanix, she knows and understands the game."

He said the Central Bay of Plenty team worked well together but each member had to be self-driven as well.

"The vision for this year, in general, is to enhance the rugby in the Central Bay of Plenty. That starts with the juniors, we have to get back into the schools and looking after women's rugby."