Rugby legends host students at Fiji vs. Samoa match
Roscommon Primary and Mt Eden Normal show their Pacific Island support at Rugby World Cup 2011
Auckland, 26 September 2011 - Twenty students from Roscommon and Mt Eden Normal primary schools have had a priceless Rugby World Cup 2011 experience, courtesy of MasterCard and the New Zealand Rugby Union, attending the RWC 2011 clash between Fiji and Samoa at Eden Park yesterday.
Ten students from Roscommon Primary School in Manurewa, supporting Fiji, were hosted in a suite at the game by former All Black winger Joe Rokocoko and former Fijian fullback Alfred Uluinayau, while 10 students from Mt Eden Normal Primary School showed their support for Samoa in a suite hosted by Pat Lam, former captain of Samoa and current coach of the Blues Super Rugby team.
The Roscommon Primary students were chosen as they represented Fiji at the Rippa World Cup in Auckland last month. Supporting Samoa and hosted by Lam, the NZRU selected Mt Eden Normal to take part in this experience, as the school was another keen participant in the Rippa World Cup.
Prior to the game, the students, with their faces painted in team colours, and the host Rugby stars gathered at Mt Eden Normal. Roscommon laid down a traditional Pacific Island challenge performing the cibi (the Fijian equivalent of the haka) led by Rokocoko and Uluinayau, before the students from Mt Eden and Lam responded with the Samoan siva tau.
Making the most of the experience, the students enjoyed food and soft drinks in the suites before and after the match and were able to get caps and t-shirts autographed by the host stars.
On Friday, members of Auckland's rugby community were granted a behind-the-scenes look at the final training sessions of Fiji and Samoa at their captain's runs at Eden Park. After watching each team train for 15 minutes, the lucky attendees were taken on a VIP stadium tour by RWC 2011 representatives where they got a sneak peek into the team locker rooms and media centre.
Both experiences, part of MasterCard’s Worldwide Partnership with RWC 2011, were intended to provide people involved at the grassroots level with unforgettable Rugby memories. MasterCard's New Zealand Country Manager Albert Naffah said that these are just a couple of the ways MasterCard is connecting the country's youngest rugby fans with their sporting heroes.
"We're very excited to be able to give children in Auckland, and around the country, opportunities like this throughout RWC 2011 and their passion and enthusiasm is infectious. MasterCard is committed to bringing fans closer to the game of Rugby and connecting them with their local and international heroes," Mr Naffah said.
NZRU General Manager Community and Provincial Union Rugby Brent Anderson said it was great to work with MasterCard to see young players and volunteers from the grassroots game given the opportunity to be part of RWC 2011.
"These two schools - Roscommon and Mt Eden - fully embraced the opportunity to be part of the recent Rippa World Cup, and it's fitting that we can reward them with this wonderful experience."
MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard's products and solutions make everyday commerce activities—such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances—easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Learn more at mastercard.com or follow us on Twitter @mastercardnews
MasterCard & Rugby World Cup 2011
MasterCard Worldwide is an Official Worldwide Partner and the official payment system of Rugby World Cup 2011. The company leverages the platform to further deliver shareholder value by creating exclusive business-building opportunities for its customer financial institutions, while building MasterCard brand affinity by offering priceless experiences to MasterCard cardholders. As part of its agreement, MasterCard secures a comprehensive rights and benefits package that allows the company to deliver value to customer financial institutions, merchants and cardholders, including the ability to access "Priceless" experiences linked to Rugby World Cup 2011.
Rugby World Cup is the crown jewel of the sport and a prominent global property—with television coverage of Rugby World Cup 2007 spanning more than 200 territories, reaching a cumulative audience of 4.3 billion viewers. Rugby World Cup is being held in New Zealand for the first time since the inaugural event in 1987. Teams representing 20 nations will compete in 48 matches across eleven host cities during September and October. The Final is scheduled for Auckland’s historic Eden Park on October 23, 2011.
Beyond its expertise in world-class sponsorship marketing, MasterCard also has a rich heritage of supporting the sport of Rugby in New Zealand. MasterCard has been a sponsor of the All Blacks for more than seven years. MasterCard is also match sponsor to the Barbarian Internationals for 2009-2010.