By Joanne Holden
After four years as “camp mother” keeping the Roncalli College girls’ rugby team hydrated, a Timaru 16-year-old with Down syndrome has made her debut on the field.
Meghan Phillips burst into tears when her mother told her she would be donning yellow and blue stripes for the final five minutes of an hour-long match against visiting school Prebbleton on Friday.
“I’m a wee bit nervous,” Meghan said, ahead of the 3pm game.
While the Roncalli College Year 12 student was “rugby-mad”, she had only ever played the sport with her brother – so she enjoyed her first time practising and warming up with a team.
“I like playing rugby with all the girls.”
Although her team lost, Meghan scored the game’s final try – ploughing through half a field of opponents to ground the ball.
Meghan also got a shock when she learned her father and brother had travelled from Christchurch to watch her big moment, and sprinted over to them for a reunion after the game.
Roncalli girls coach Brad Sandri said Meghan had been getting water to the players and tees to the kickers since starting at the school four years ago, and was “a bit of a general camp mother”.
“She keeps everyone sorted. They’re never thirsty,” Sandri said.