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Kiwi Boy Wins Every Kid’s Dream

24 October 2003
News release


Kiwi Boy Wins Every Kid’s Dream
Bringing On The Ball At An All Black World Cup Match

The dream of every rugby-loving Kiwi kid has just come true for 11-year-old Braden Smith.

The Southland boy, who lives on a farm near Winton, will take to the field – hopefully alongside his heroes, the All Blacks, during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal game in Melbourne on Saturday, November 8.

It’s his first overseas trip and it’s certainly going to be a memorable one as Braden will deliver the match ball on to the field at the start of the game. He and his family will then watch the match from the stadium sidelines.

The Form One Limehills School pupil won the Fever Pitch competition organised by Coca-Cola to celebrate its dual sponsorship of the All Blacks and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

He was one of 50 Kiwis to win a trip for themselves and three friends to the World Cup quarterfinal – not only that, he was chosen for the “bring on the ball” role.

Braden says he’s not nervous about his big moment in Melbourne but hasn’t decided yet whether to follow the advice of his mates at school – “they reckon I should do a Carlos kick when I run on …. You know, kick it up and catch it.”

Not surprisingly, he’s sports mad and his favourite game is, of course, rugby. He plays second five for the Dipton Limehills Stars and also fills in as first five and halfback when required.

His favourite All Black is Aaron Mauger and he’s also excited about meeting Sean Fitzpatrick, who is hosting the 200 supporters during their quarterfinal trip.

Braden says he’d very much like to be an All Black when he gets older or, failing that, he’ll follow in his family’s footsteps and be a farmer. His favourite subjects at school are maths and PE so he’ll be well-equipped for whatever career he chooses.

As for who’s going to win the World Cup, the young fan loyally picks the All Blacks, but admits they will be lucky to take it.

“It should be New Zealand versus the UK in the final and hopefully we’ll get a narrow win,” he says in serious commentating mode.

Braden will be travelling to Melbourne with his dad Colin, mum Maree and nine-year-old sister Brianna. Both he and Brianna have had to get passports in order to go on the trip.

Coca-Cola New Zealand Country Manager Gareth Edgecombe is delighted that Braden has been selected for this important role.

“Giving Braden the chance to bring on the match ball in a 2003 Rugby World Cup game makes him a part of rugby history. What fantastic memories he’s going to have of his first overseas trip.

“It will really give him a taste of what it’s like to be involved in international rugby and hopefully inspire him to keep putting in the hard yards so he can achieve his dream of becoming an All Black one day.”

- ends -

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