SOS IRB Kit Aid helps Samoan rugby community

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 8 September 2010
SOS IRB Kit Aid helps Samoan rugby community
Samoa won a first Pacific Nations Cup title on home soil earlier this year - Photo:

SOS IRB Kit Aid has broken new ground with a first ever delivery to Oceania and the distribution of much-needed training kit to the Samoan Rugby communities affected by last year's devastating tsunami.

The IRB-supported charity, which distributes donated Rugby kit and equipment from clubs, schools and suppliers in the UK and Ireland, successfully delivered a record 3,000kg of essential kit to local Rugby communities during the recent ANZ Pacific Nations Cup in Samoa in response to the devastation caused by the tsunami. The delivery complemented the wider legacy programme that kicked off during the tournament.

Triggered by a magnitude 8 earthquake, the tsunami caused extensive damage within Samoa and the surrounding region, causing fatalities and leaving many people homeless. The disaster spurred the global Rugby family into action with IRB Member Unions pledging support via a range of fund-raising and support initiatives, aimed at restoring damaged Rugby facilities throughout the area.

Samoa Prime Minister and Samoa Rugby Union Chairman Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who was present to receive the shipment expressed his gratitude to the global Rugby family and insisted that the kit would transform the lives of the affected Rugby communities.

"I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to SOS IRB Kit Aid for the donation of essential Rugby kit that had been so generously donated by the global Rugby family. The kit has since been received by the many clubs and schools that were affected by the tsunami and will make a massive difference to the lives of all involved. The spirit of teamwork is a cornerstone of Rugby and we are humbled to know that this spirit is alive, not just on the field, but in uniting in support during times of sorrow and pain."

IRB Regional General Manager for Oceania, Will Glenwright said: "The significance of this SOS IRB Kit Aid delivery to Samoa, the first in the Region, cannot be underestimated. Rugby, through Samoa's IRB Sevens World Series crown and the hosting of a hugely successful ANZ Pacific Nations Cup, has brought great hope and pride to the people of Samoa since the tsunami last September and this warm gesture will assist everyone in the affected areas to find some joy through Rugby."

SOS IRB Kit Aid founder and Chairman John Broadfoot said: "The IRB engaged SOS IRB Kit Aid in order to assist those communities affected by the tsunami and we were delighted to get involved for such a worthy cause. It is very exciting to know that the kit has been so well received and is already being put to good use within the Rugby communities of this passionate Rugby country."

Samoa defeated Fiji 31-9 in the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup 2010 title decider to win their first ever title. This achievement, together with the successful hosting of a record-breaking tournament, has provided a major boost for the Union.

In addition to the delivery of kit, a package of projects have been run within the tournament's legacy programme focusing on coach and referee development and administrative support as well as a nationwide schools programme involving 13,500 children in 132 schools aimed at health and lifestyle education and Rugby coaching.