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Army seeks business support to honour WWII rugby

Army seeks business support to honour WWII rugby heroes

To commemorate and honour the success of the New Zealand Army rugby team that toured Great Britain and France in 1945, a 60th anniversary commemoration tour to the United Kingdom is being planned for 16 April - 06 May 2005.

NZ's Bob Scott kicking.

With the endorsement of the New Zealand Rugby Union, the touring party is relying on corporate sponsorship to go ahead and tour organisers are still securing funds from the business community. So far, Qantas, Radio Network, Nobilo Wine Group, Gilbert and Fuelquip have sign ed on.

The sponsored touring party includes both a women’s and men’s team and a number of celebrated veterans from the legendary1945 Kiwis (including Fred Allen, Bob Scott and Stan Young) and although the Army cannot financially support the tour, the players have the complete encouragement of the Chief of Army.

"While their careers and military responsibilities always come first, they have been given every support and opportunity to develop their individual and team skills to the highest level. While in some cases they will be up against professional opposition the Army pocket usually produces players and play that rises above an ordinary level. The games verses the British Army sides, while not grudge matches, will undoubtedly be intense and exciting encounters", he says.

The 1945 team that the tour honours consisted exclusively of New Zealand Soldiers who came straight from the battlefields of WWII and went on to win 29 of the 33 games they played.

Not only did they draw huge crowds and admiration for their high level of skill they were also credited for playing a pivotal role in regenerating the game of rugby after the war.

16 of the 31 team-members went on to All Black status.

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