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Old heads, young legs combine for charity

Old heads and young legs were the catalyst today for a resounding victory by New Zealand over Australia.

The Southern Fresh Milk New Zealand Legends rugby team defeated its trans-Tasman rivals 54 to 29 in a free flowing but intense encounter at the 1999 Air New Zealand Queenstown Winter Festival.

"The wonderful thing today was the young people joined together with the oldies to provide a foundation for the future of the game of rugby," said New Zealand team manager Fred Daniel.

More than five thousand spectators turned up for an exhibition of 'absolutely old fashioned rivalry', he said.

Serious rugby played for fun is the Legends concept where former great players join up-and-coming youngsters for the benefit of charity.

"Youngsters such as Tim Wilson of Otago and Ben Mathieson of Southland relished the chance to play against some of the Aussie greats," Mr Daniel said.

"They had to contend with Sam Scott-Young, Brian Smith, a double international, and The Opposum, Chris Roche but they had some wise heads in Bill Bush and Mark Shaw to guide them."

Mr Daniel said one of the big clashes of the day was former All Black halfback Mark Donaldson versus Smith who played rugby for both Australia and Ireland as well as professional rugby league.

"The intensity of those two was an inspiration to the young players on the paddock especially for Michael Petman from NZ Universities who scored 29 points including three tries."

The two teams were competing for the ANZAC trophy donated by the Otago Museum and which embodies a Gallipoli medal from the First World War.

The Legends Charity supports young people with Multiple Sclerosis and proceeds from the match will be donated to that cause.

Canadian Moose ice hockey player Ken Mulgrew joined the Aussies for the game - nothing too unusual about that - except the player has only one arm. Mulgrew is a rugby player in Canada and has toured New Zealand playing the 15-man game.

And, as former Aussie international Sam Scott-Young said, "It's rugby as it used to be played; we bash each other about on the field and then join together for a few quiet ones and a good sing-along. It's a rugby brotherhood."

Following the game, the players joined Queenstown festival-goers in an after-match dinner at Rydges Hotel.


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