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Passionate Dad’s vax message to the NZRU: ‘Rugby is no longer the game for us’

Dear New Zealand Rugby Union,

I am writing to you in regards to the current situation relating to the banning of non-vaccinated players from rugby.

My son is 12 years and 3.5 months old. He is unvaccinated. He has been deemed as “unfit and dangerous” by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and therefore is not able to participate in sport due to his age.

Rugby for kids news

A little bit of background – My son has been playing rugby since the age of 5. He is one of three remaining children at his club who started when they were in nursery grade. He has played every year since, bleeding blood and breaking bones for his team, his club and his sport. In the past three years, he has missed one training session and played every game. He has also played every representative game in which he was chosen. He has managed to do this while juggling three other sports (which he can no longer participate in).

In three of the the four representative games he played in last year, he was awarded the Player of the Day by the opposition. He was recently chosen for the Gareth Head Junior Rugby Leadership Clinic. His dream is to be a Hurricane and if good enough, an All Black.

I have been a passionate rugby supporter all my life. My earliest memories involve rugby and attending games. I am 48 years of age. My father used to take us to Athletic Park and sit at the northern end while the southerly howled around us. Often, we were the only people in our part of that small grandstand. We travelled the country watching games – a highlight for me was watching Wellington win the shield off Waikato in the early 80s. I also attended every All Blacks game at Athletic Park from the early 80s until its destruction. I played Club Rugby after my years in the First XV. We had shifted to Auckland in my college years and we had Season Passes at Eden Park for nearly 15 years. I travelled overseas and was privileged to be able to watch the ABs play in over 15 tests overseas. I was there in 2003 and 2007 when we were knocked out of the World Cups. I was there in 2011 when we won in Auckland. Needless to say, I come from a staunch and loyal Rugby family. My father passed this passion for the game onto me, and I have passed this on to my son.

But, this email is not about me. I have been kicked out of society, ostracised from social gatherings, berated by some family members. But, I will survive as I have a thick skin. My son on the other hand – he is struggling.

You see, for a 12 year old boy to be told he can’t play sport because of his vaccination status is incomprehensible. I am not going to get into a debate about the “science” but do want to get into a debate about the morality and ethics of organisations like NZ Rugby. How do you reconcile your motto “a game for all” when it clearly isn’t? How do you so fiercely push the vaccine knowing that the dangers from the vaccine itself far outweigh the benefits for a healthy child? Why are All Blacks (who my son adores) used as pawns in the vaccination game to promote something that has no benefit for a child? And how does NZ Rugby sit there and not publicly fight for the rights of all NZers to have access to sport – particularly our national game?

I believe the moral compass of major organisations around the world have become completely confused during Covid. If my son was a different type of minority, he would be welcomed with open arms. Can you imagine banning an HIV positive child from rugby because of their diagnosis? There would be a considerable uproar and every step would be put in place to ensure that the child could play rugby. For my son, there is absolutely no loyalty.

I know your counter argument – we are doing the best we can to operate under the traffic light system. That is partly true – you are doing the best you can for the vaccinated under the traffic light system. It is clear segragation, discrimination and medical apartheid that history will judge as the biggest cop-out ever.

But, I don’t want to sit here and vent my anger at you. I do want you to consider this and then if you are happy to not fight for my child, then we will walk away from Rugby for good.

We returned from overseas in 2013. I was either a season ticket holder or attended at least 10 games a year at Westpac Stadium since that date. Each time, four members of my family came along. If you do the maths, we have purchased approximately 320 tickets to attend Rugby Games in Wellington. When the Lions came, I took three weeks off work and travelled around the country watching games with my mates. Every year, I have also purchased Hurricanes merchandise for my children. I have also purchased numerous All Blacks jerseys. As society starts to shift away from gladiatorial sports like Rugby, you need all the support and loyalty you can get. I know there is a massive drop off in numbers post college but I truly feel my son is in it for life. And, if he continues to have the passion he has, then his children (my grandchildren) will be rugby players.

What I am saying to you is this …… if my family and in particular, my son is not worth fighting for, then Rugby is not the game for us.

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  1. A superb letter that illustrates the pain and frustration parents and grandparents have at this irrational decision.
    Unfortunately the elites at rugby headquarters don’t believe they owe the masses an explanation. The lure of more Government money is too strong for these mercenaries.
    National Game no more for me.

  2. NZ Rugby have treated their hardcore supporters with disdain. I stopped watching when Covid starting cancelling games. And when that idiot Andrew Hore made this disparaging comments last week, I vowed never to watch another game again

  3. If the war in Ukraine escalates, it’ll be interesting to watch the powers that be beg a considerable sum of able bodied young men to “serve their country” after their country just spent two years degrading, defaming, and unpersoning them.

    The rugby situation is the same phenomenon on a smaller scale.

  4. Ahhhhhh that’s awful. I’m so sorry for you and your son. That’s a raw feeling of pain (and helplessness) you must feel for your son. I applaud your stance and your sons courage to stand tall. I wish only great things for him in the future. You are not alone. There are others of us who’s hearts are bleeding for our kids right now who have been cruelly excluded from their many sports. We will get through this and in time our kids will be able to look back and know that they were on the right side of history. It just really really sucks right now and it shouldn’t. Shame on this government and all those sporting bodies that thought it was ok to exclude and marginalise kids.

  5. I said it before and I’ll have to say it again.. the ’80s protest chickens of segregation have truly come home to roost. Not so mortally superior after all these kiwis, easily manipulatable with fear. What a sad state of affairs. Have fun explaining this one to the kids in a few years.. Its your turn to partake in state sanctioned two tier society.

  6. Bravo ???? well written. I pray your son gets to play his rugby that he so dearly loves and that you get the pleasure of watching him play.

    This letter sums it up doesn’t it? It’s not about us really it’s about our kids.
    I have a teen who cannot sit his Drivers License. He missed out on his school ball last year just after we had bought him his first suit. He was so excited and had ordered a corsage for the girl he was taking. A group had got together to hire a car. He was gutted. He had teachers pressuring him to get the vaccine and in the end he lied and said he had had it just so they would leave him alone. That goes against everything I have ever taught him. Then there is their disrupted study, them being forced to wear masks in class, and now he has been told he may not be able to go on an overnight school year 13 trip because the accommodation provider requires a vax pass. Where does the discrimination and restriction end? Enough already.

    What this government has done to these kids is UNFORGIVABLE. There is nothing kind, nothing inclusive and nothing morally right about it. They are the most hypocritical, nasty, divisive bunch of politicians ever to inhabit that hornets nest. They are NOT us.

    I hope the kids can somehow bounce back from this……many may not.

  7. “Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, FOOTBALL, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult”
    George Orwell, 1984

  8. This story is all too familiar… my family is in the same position with two rugby passionate boys now about to miss out on the game they love and have played for over 8 years. I myself played senior rugby in Auckland during the 90’s and have supported and been involved with coaching and refereeing over the past 8 years as well. It is soul destroying to see the people who we have stood on the side-lines with for years as well as those I have played with, stand by and accept this segregation enforced on our kids. We live in the North Harbour union area and have been informed that they will not even entertain the idea of hosting 10 aside games for those that are denied the ability to play the 15 aside game. We will not forget how we have been treated and the chickens will come home to roost. Love to all you out there fighting the fight!


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