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Nib Teams Up With The Blues To Protect The Little Smiles Of Junior Rugby Players

nib New Zealand (nib) has partnered with the Blues to launch its nib Little Legends Little Smiles initiative, giving 1,000 PIC Junior Rugby players the ultimate protection with their very own OPRO custom-fit mouthguards – just like those worn by our boys in blue during Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Designed to support the better health of New Zealand’s rugby community, the programme aims to help keep our littlest rugby players safe while they take part in the game they love, helping to reduce the likelihood of injury.

PIC Junior Rugby players (aged 5-12 years) from Ponsonby, College Rifles, Pakuranga, Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Manukau rugby clubs were selected to take part in the programme.

The use of mouthguards became compulsory in New Zealand’s domestic rugby scene in 1998 and have since been instrumental in protecting the health of rugby players at all levels.

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said it’s why investment in prevention is so important, to avoid both short and long-term health issues.

“A big part of our focus on helping Kiwis to live healthier lives is on providing the tools and technology to empower New Zealanders to take better care of their health – and this starts with the health of our youngest of Kiwis,” Mr Hennin said.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone, and many sports clubs haven’t been able to train or play as planned. As the new season kicks off, we wanted to give back and ensure that our junior players are protected by the best, so they can remain healthy both on and off the field,” he added.

As the official mouthguard supplier of the Blues, OPRO’s world-leading mouthguard technology provides optimum protection for teeth, gums and mouths – reducing the likelihood and severity of injuries such as broken teeth, concussions, or other injuries to the lips, tongue, face and jaw.

Blues Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Hore, said, “As a contact sport, playing rugby does come with certain risks. That’s why it’s so important to us to ensure that not just our boys, but the wider rugby community at all levels, are educated on the best safety practices – so they can look after themselves.”

“It’s great to partner with nib to deliver OPRO’s custom-fit mouthguards to some of our junior players, so that our up-and-coming rugby stars are well protected when they take the field,” he said.


Fitting OPRO’s Custom-Fit Mouthguards

To help our Little Legends fit their custom mouthguards (RRP $120), nib’s Check-up Truck was on site for the Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Manukau clubs’ weigh in days last week, along with several Blues players to lend a helping hand.

Custom-fitted mouthguards adapt far more closely to the individual’s mouth than a boil and bite mouthguard, significantly reducing the risk of sports-related oral injuries while allowing the wearer to speak easier and breathe more freely, so they can stay focused on the game.

Auckland Rugby’s Head of Commercial & Partnerships James McKee, said, “It was a real treat for our players at Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Manukau Rovers’ clubs. We’re grateful for the support of our PIC Junior Rugby clubs and we made a whole evening of it, even getting some of the Blues players along, which meant a lot to our community.”

“For many parents, knowing that their children will be well protected on the field gives them that all-important peace of mind,” he concludes.

Former Blues Player and Director of the Auckland Rugby Board, Keven Mealamu, attended the event at Papatoetoe and was thrilled to see the PIC Junior Rugby community come together for the love of sport.

“It was fantastic to visit Papatoetoe Junior Rugby Club and witness the next generation of rugby athletes in training while they learn how to practise safe sport in a fun and encouraging environment,” Mr Mealamu said.

“It’s such an awesome initiative and always great to put the safety of our young, up and coming players first,” he added.

As part of the nib Little Legends Little Smiles programme, nib has also secured a 25% discount on OPRO mouthguards for the community. For more details, visit: Offer expires 30 April 2021.

For those who order the OPRO Home Impression Kit, an instructional video with Blues players Dalton Papalii, brothers Rieko and Akira Ioane and their mum, Sandra Ioane, is available on the nib Little Legends site, demonstrating how to take a great impression for the custom-fit mouthguard.

A highlight reel of the event at Papatoetoe can be viewed here:

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