• Rugby great to speak at St. John’s College Rugby Foundation fundraiser

Rugby great to speak at St. John’s College Rugby Foundation fundraiser

All Blacks great Sir Michael Jones will pass on his knowledge and insights into the game at a St. John's College Rugby Foundation fundraiser next month.

A night with Sir Michael Jones, sponsored by Simkin Construction, will be held on Friday, April 9, with money raised going towards the College’s First XV tour to the South Island later that month.

Head Coach Matt Wyatt said they were grateful to have the opportunity to host Sir Michael.

The event has already proved popular, with less than 40 tickets left. Having previously hosted a Race Night Fundraising Event, Mr Wyatt said the College’s Rugby Foundation thought it would be a good idea to get a guest speaker in instead.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO Jay Campbell knew the “right man” and approached Jones, who was more than willing to speak.

“We’re expecting 300 people at the moment which is double any of the Race Night Fundraising events we’ve run in the past, so it’s going to be quite a big event but it’s something special for the college as well,” Mr Wyatt said.

The evening will include a meal, along with raffles and a live auction, and of course, Sir Michael speaking. “It is a good opportunity for the boys to fundraise for the different events they do.”

While the squad will be working at the event, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to speak to the rugby great.

Mr Wyatt said they are plan on showcasing the school’s spirit to Jones, with planned performances including by the College’s Pasifika Group.

A Q&A session will allow the boys to harness as much knowledge as possible. The Pasifika Group have also been invited to attend.

The squad of 30 were meant to travel to Chile for their pre-season tour like they did in 2019, but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to the trip.

The South Island tour will see the squad, which includes several apprentices, play three matches over the eight days.

For the past few months, the boys have been doing “anything and everything” to fundraise the $35,000 needed for the tour. Jobs have included cleaning up at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel and working at a pre-match Magpies dinner at the McLean Park, among other things.

Sir Michael Jones played 55 tests for the All Blacks from 1987 to 1998 and was a member of the team that won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1087. His strong Christian beliefs saw him refuse to play rugby on a Sunday, but he is widely regarded as one of the greatest All Blacks ever.

The fundraising event will be held at the St. John’s College Hall from 6.30pm on Friday, April 9. Tickets are $50 for a seat or $500 for a table. For more information and to purchase tickets, email Matt Wyatt at matt@pwlbuilders.co.nz