They'll say I do - for the rugby
Two best mates from Taranaki are willing to tie the knot in the name of rugby passion.
Sophie O'Donnell and Malinda Wynyard, both 23, are finalists in The Edge radio station's Love You Man competition to get married in order to win a trip to next year's Rugby World Cup in the UK.
The competition is targeted at straight men, with the tag line "We know Kiwi guys love their footy, but how far could we push them?"
But these two female footy fans are ready to break the stereotype.
"We weren't just doing it for a laugh, we're the world's biggest rugby fans," O'Donnell said.
The competition has been criticised as being disrespectful and making a mockery of same-sex marriage, but for this would-be "couple" it's no joke.
O'Donnell said the competition mocked marriage as a whole, not just same-sex marriage, and they simply saw it as a way to get to the rugby. "It's part of what we have to do."
After New Zealand's victory in 2011's World Cup, the pair shunned a night out in town to go home and debrief about the match.
"We sat up in bed eating kebabs and talking about it," Wynyard said.
Wynyard was overcome by emotion at Mils Muliaina's 100th test capping ceremony.
"There's a video and Malinda's holding her cellphone but you can't hear anything because she's hysterically crying," O'Donnell said.
They also made a sign for Conrad Smith that read "Conrad we love your snake", referring to his running technique on the field.
"People didn't take it that well," O'Donnell admitted.
There wasn't much chance the mock-marriage would thwart real wedding plans, she said.
"If I have a whirlwind romance and want to get married in the next two years, in all honesty I couldn't plan a wedding in that time."
The pair have been friends since high school and Wynyard's boyfriend often plays third wheel, Wynyard said.
He was "a bit stunned" by the whole thing, but had adjusted to the idea, she said. "He doesn't want to get in the way."
A few friends were hesitant to vote because the competition ridiculed a sacred pledge, which the girls understood.
But at least they were being honest about the fate of their "marriage", O'Donnell said.
"We're not going into this and telling people it's going to last, it's not like people who get married and break up two months later."
The top five couples will be announced this week.
Taranaki Daily News