Good Sorts: Female coach reviving Gisborne men's rugby team

Mon, May 22

There's a lot of rebuilding underway on the East Coast, and Lisa Mullen is right in the thick of it when she helps in reviving the fortunes of the newly-reformed Waima men's team.

"Our club's been in recess for 22 years and never thought it would happen," one player said.

Mullen's known for her hugs — and also her intensity.

The coach, who used to play rugby, said she thinks about the game 24/7. She trains her teams with a focus on endurance and ball skills, making them run hard and fast.

Locals say she is the first woman ever to coach a men's senior team when she coached Ruatoria City to the semi-finals two seasons ago, but few cared about that on the field.

Last season she saw the Waiapu women's team training by car light. She found them a ground and coached them, going from winless to champions in one season.

Beneath that drill sergeant exterior is a love of the game and its players.

"If you stay strong and steady in what you know and believe in yourself, you should be good," she said.

For the full story, watch the video above.


More Stories