Players from Samoa will be among superstars of the global game who will be out and about in suburban Queensland spreading the Rugby gospel in early February as part of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens festivities.
Samoa is among 14 teams competing in the tournament. All teams will participate in a community event at a local Queensland rugby club, while many will also visit schools and hold open training sessions during the week leading up to the blockbuster Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
The St.George Queensland Reds will visit Taylor Bridge Junior Rugby Club, major tournament drawcard Toulon will be hosted by Easts Rugby club, the Super Rugby champion Hurricanes will call into Sunnybank Rugby Club, and Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights will link with University of Queensland Rugby Club.
“We look forward to the opportunity to interact with school and club people within Brisbane for an exchange of culture and ideas,” Wild Knights head coach Robbie Deans said.
“Rugby is one of the best teachers of the skills required for life. The ability to function within a team, the realisation that no-one is indispensable and no-one can thrive without the support of the people around them. It teaches team work and resilience, the ability to persevere when things get difficult. It also provides opportunities to see the world and interact with people of different cultural backgrounds.”
Pat Richards, Director of Rugby at Easts, said the club was thrilled to be hosting the star-studded Toulon team.
“To host arguably the most well-known club in the world is a great opportunity for Easts,” Richards said.
“It provides us with the opportunity to showcase our facilities and engage with the local community.”
“We’ve worked closely with the local French community in Brisbane ahead of the visit and we’re going to have French food trucks here on the night and the bar will be open. It should be a great celebration ahead of the tournament and hopefully it might attract some more Easts’ supporters and players.”
Logan Saints president Mike Gallagher said the club and local community was excited about the prospect of Samoa training at the club.
“Having Samoa train at Logan provides the club with a chance to engage with the community in the local area,” Gallagher said.
“We have a large number of existing players at the club who are of Samoan heritage and to have members of the Samoan national side train at the club will be special for them.”
“With our club progressing into the Queensland Premier Reserve Grade competition in 2017 before joining Premier Grade in 2018, we’re hoping an event such as this will also help us attract some new players.”
The club and school visits were part of a drive to “take it local”, Duco Australia chief executive Rachael Carroll said.
“When we conceived the idea for this event is was very important to us that it would have a huge positive impact on the grassroots game as well as being a great entertainment product,” Ms Carroll said.
“From day one we always intended taking some of the biggest stars of world Rugby into the Queensland community to help spread the gospel about what a great game Rugby is and the opportunities it can present for people from all walks of life. We’re thrilled that we can now deliver that,” she said.
Q.R.U. general manager commercial operations David Hanham said: “The Queensland Rugby Union (Q.R.U.) has been heavily involved in the development of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens with Duco and other key stakeholders over the past three years.
“We recognised early on that the event would be a game changer for Rugby in this state. The eyes of the Rugby world will be on Brisbane for a week each February, so our market knows Rugby Union is back and the international stars of our game will be on show in Brisbane on the eve of the Super Rugby tournament.”
“This opportunity for 300 of our sports’ biggest stars to visit schools and clubs in the wider Brisbane area and engage new and existing fans and participants in training and promotional activities is a great legacy outcome of the QRU working shoulder to shoulder with the event organisers to bring this global sporting event to this state.”