An official match jersey signed by the Lions-conquering Blues rugby team is up for grabs at Waiheke Rugby Club’s big fundraiser next Friday night, 30 June.
The match jersey, signed by every player after the Super Rugby franchise’s history-making win on 6 June, looms as the most fought-over item in the club’s auction of goods on the night.
Then again, Rieko Ioane’s boots might hold some cachet. The Blues and All Blacks winger got over the line four times against the Lions but officially scored only once.
Other items donated for separate live and silent auctions are from Fullers, Mudbrick Vineyard, Frenchman’s Hill Vineyard, 360 Discovery and Te Matuku Oysters. Oh, and there’s a Crusaders shirt for Christchurch refugees.
The fundraiser is at The Venue in Onetangi, made available free by owners Luke and Helen Carter for the event.
Special guests will include Blues captain Andrew Parsons and winger Matt Duffy, best known for surviving a pounding from the Lions. Blues assistant (forwards) coach Steve Jackson, who lives on the island, will also be on hand.
Howard Brooke-Smith will MC the event and Theresa Rongonui will be the auctioneer.
Junior club captain Nique van Selm says like any sporting club on Waiheke, fundraising is the biggest requirement.
“In order to have a rugby club for these kids to play for, we need funding.”
While major sponsor SeaLink generously discounts tickets for away games, travel represents the club’s biggest expense.
“Our under-11s and under-12s have only played two home games all season,” Nique says.
“We also need kit and training equipment to upskill these kids.
“Our clubroom also needs a makeover so we have the ability to hire the room out to local groups.”
There are similar plans to complete the development of the junior clubroom and equip it with a commercial kitchen so it can be used for functions such as birthday parties.
Nique says junior players receive only a playing strip and the club would like to supply them with tracksuits which could attract sponsorship.
To be held the night before the second All Blacks vs Lions test match, the annual fundraiser should be a great night for talking rugby, Nique says. It takes place at The Venue, Onetangi, from 6.30pm on Friday, 30 June. Tickets cost $60 and are available from Double Shot in Oneroa, Hot Shot in Ostend, Te Matuku Oysters in Ostend or by emailing Nique at: firstname.lastname@example.org • Geoff Cumming