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Black Ferns Sevens invite Hawke's Bay girl to training after being told she can't play in First XV - 'Don't let anyone stop you'

The Black Ferns Sevens have rallied behind a young girl in Hawke's Bay who has been told she can't play for her First XV because of her gender by inviting her to train with them.

Briar Hales, 11, from Havelock North Intermediate has been told by event organisers - those from the five schools taking part- that she should play for the girls team, not the boys.

As a result, it's understood Briar pulled out of the team.

The ruling and aftermath didn't sit well with Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini, who appeared on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"I think she should be playing - she's 11-years-old, she loves the sport and she's pretty good at it. To have the guts at 11 to want to play against boys as well, she should have every right to want to play," Hirini said.

"I'm disappointed she's been put in a position where she's had to choose and she feels like she's going to let her team down if she plays."

Hirini then made an offer to Briar to come train with some other serious competition - the recent World Series champions.

"Hopefully, we can get her to Mount Maunganui and have a run around with us because that would be pretty cool."

Breakfast presenter John Campbell then gave fellow Sevens player Niall Williams the chance to formally invite Briar to train with them with a heartfelt message down the camera.

"Hey Briar, we just want to say we think what you're doing is amazing, keep doing it and don't let anyone stop you," Williams said.

"Rugby is an amazing sport and it can take you a lot of places in the future.

"Make sure you come down to the Mount and call us up and we'll be happy to train alongside you any day."

Havelock North Intermediate principal Julia Beaumont told RNZ yesterday everyone at her school really supports women in rugby.

"We have had girls in our First XV for years and never had a problem, it's always been supported by the other schools we play against.

"They've said this decision will be under review."

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Briar Hales, 11, has been told she can't play in the boys team by event organisers. Source: Breakfast