Virtual Rugby provides extra excitement for fans
After 15 weeks of Rebel Sport Super 14 rugby and one match to go, the Telecom Virtual Rugby competition is going down to the wire, with two die-hard fans in the running to take out this year's competition.
The leader Gareth Grant, who goes by the name of Geeman09, is leading with 521 points, and hails from Greymouth deep in Crusaders territory while six points back in second place on 515 points is Wellingtonian Forsyth Thompson, aka forsyth, a staunch Hurricanes supporter.
The pair are clear of the record 143,592 participants who have been taking part in the 2006 Telecom Virtual Rugby competition. Four weeks ago Geeman09 took the lead from forsyth and although he's kept in touch, forsyth has been unable to claim it back since. Geeman09 has one hand on the steering wheel of a Ford car as well as the $10,000 bronze and sterling silver plated, handcrafted Telecom Virtual Rugby trophy – the two prizes for the winner of the competition – and fans will be watching closely to see what each player does this weekend.
"Telecom Virtual Rugby has been our most successful virtual competition to date," said Telecom Head of Sponsorship Peter Parussini, "To be down to two possible winners one from each of the franchises competing in the final is the icing on the cake."
"With this inter-franchise rivalry fuelling even stronger interest we decided at the last minute to provide them both with complimentary tickets to the final," said Parussini.
New Zealand Rugby Union Sponsorship and Marketing Manager Fraser Holland said, like all "mates leaderboards" within this year's competition, Geeman09 and forsyth would be deciding whether to pick the final result with their heart or head.
"It's a sensational finish to have these two guys out of a total of 143,000 players going down to the wire. It all hangs on this weekend's Rebel Sport Super 14 final and I wish them both the best with their strategy," he said. Geeman09 will be driving across from Greymouth with his parents to take in the game live. While, unfortunately, forsyth won't be able to make it. Sometime ago he'd committed to a weekend with a friend in Australia's Hunter Valley.
"I think it would be more than my life's worth to try and pull out of the trip for a rugby match," said forsyth, "Although I did consider it when Telecom made the offer and I'll definitely be finding a comfortable pub in Australia to watch the game."
The top 15 players for Telecom Virtual Rugby going into the final are:
1 Geeman09 521pts 2 forsyth 515pts 3 NoUGonnaLose 509pts 4 Russiann 508pts 5 robynbee 507pts 6 matty_nz 506pts 7 Azzadaman 505pts 7 marteam 505pts 9 Bobby Blues 504pts 9 johnhmaryw 504pts 11 Hutt Demons 503pts 11 Wadie B 503pts 13 Ricrdo 502pts 13 SirJimbo 502pts 13 Soldini 502pts
The winner of the competition will receive the bronze and sterling silver plated trophy from Jens Hansen Contemporary Gold & Silversmith in Nelson and his choice of Ford from the five driven by the New Zealand Rebel Sport Super 14 captains.
The next 14 place-getters will receive the Sanyo 8300 connected to Telecom's Go Prepaid Mates' Rate plan.