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Junior rugby gets the bucks

Friday 13 November 2009 | Published in Regional

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Over $2000 was raised from last week’s charity luncheon and auction with Eric Rush.

Four items were auctioned off during the dinner including a signed 1996 All Blacks jersey that sold for $660, a 2009 signed All Blacks jersey that sold for $500, a Robby Deans signed ball that went under the hammer for $20 and South African rugby player Ollie Le Rue’s signed Rebok t-shirt was sold for $55.

The funds will be used for junior rugby development in the Cook Islands including purchasing equipment such as rugby balls and rippa rugby tags.

Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive officer Ben Koteka says that they are very grateful for the funds to boost junior development in the Cook Islands.

The majority of young rugby sevens players that took part in the international sevens tournament on Friday and Saturday are products of the CIRU junior development programme.

The funds will help ensure the growth of rugby union in the Cook Islands.

Around 130 people supported the charity luncheon last Thursday and that afternoon around 300 people were at the BCI stadium to watch the New Zealand and Cook Islands Parliamentarian clash.

In fact, the New Zealand parliamentarian team have registered their interests with the organisers of the Sevens in Heaven tournament to return for the 2010 tournament.

Organisers of the Sevens in Heaven tournament Lara Sadaraka and Karla Eggelton from Destination Cook Islands estimate that around 1100 people watched the Friday night rugby sevens games at the BCI stadium with around 1700 people turning up for Saturday games.

Eggelton says that rugby sevens stalwart Eric Rush, who was the guest of this year’s tournament and hosted the junior development luncheon, is keen to return for next year’s competition.

Junior rugby development and other organisations on the island will once again benefit from next year’s Sevens in Heaven.

Organisers of the tournament have yet to finalise figures of funds raised from gate takings at the tournament but Eggelton and her team were thrilled to see the number of people who ventured out to support the sevens tournament.