The Blues have revealed new names to their starting line-up when they play off against the Highlanders this Saturday at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The new names’ are New Zealand children who have won a unique charity initiative that was developed by BNZ to raise awareness and funds for Plunket during the annual charity round, and supporters had the chance to bid for jerseys on Trade Me or enter a ballot online.
BNZ Future Stars will see the BNZ logo on the front of every jersey worn by the New Zealand Investec Super 15 Rugby teams in Round 10 get swapped out with a child’s name. After the match all the jerseys will be sent to the winners to keep as a unique souvenir.
Named after All Black Kees Meeuws and distant relative of Charlie Faumuina, Kees Faumuina, 11-year-old Aucklander and winner of Blues jersey Number One can barely contain his excitement for Saturday. His mother Mel Faumuina says it’s a great confidence boost for Kees having his name on the field.
ìKees was born with one eye significantly smaller than the other, making him a target for bullying, but with the inspiration from The Blues to be strong he has overcome the pain and learned to accept his difference,î says Mel Faumuina.
Zion Clarke, a three-year-old Blues fan from Auckland also got to meet his rugby hero after finding out he won the Number Five jersey. Born into a rugby mad family, he often practices with his older brothers, but says he never gives up as he ìbleeds Blueî. Their family are big supporters of the Blues and always wear their jerseys when the team plays.
BNZ Director of Retail and Marketing Craig Herbison says, ìThe BNZ Future Stars initiative is a unique opportunity for Kiwi kids to connect with their rugby idols and raise awareness to support New Zealand’s most enduring charity, Plunket. We’re proud to support Plunket and our future stars with an opportunity to get involved in the national game in a way they wouldn’t normally be able to. The highlight will be seeing the wide grins on the children’s faces when players run onto the field wearing their name.î
The proceeds from the Trade Me auctions, along with money collected at the Investec Super 15 Rugby games in New Zealand this weekend, will be donated to Plunket.
This year the Trade Me auctions raised more than $10,000 for Plunket with the Chiefs’ jerseys proving the most popular raising the most of all Investec Super Rugby teams with $2,505 in total. The highest bid Blues jersey was Number Two, known to be worn by Keven Mealamu and closed at $500 on Trade Me.
ìWe are delighted to be able to support BNZ and their official charity through this initiative. It’s a very visual way for them to highlight their relationship with Super Rugby, and for a few Super Rugby fans, they get to see their favourite players run out with their on the players’ chests, ì says Nick Brown, New Zealand Rugby General Manager ñ Content, Commercial and Public Affairs.