Maori All Blacks give wheelchair rugby a go thanks to AIG
To celebrate AIG’s partnerships with New Zealand Rugby and the Endeavour Fund, today AIG hosted a morning of wheelchair rugby.
Eight athletes from Help for Heroes (H4H) Sports Recovery were invited to play wheelchair rugby against four players from the Māori All Blacks rugby team, ahead of their match against Harlequin F.C. tomorrow (Wednesday 16 November, 2016).
The H4H Wheelchair Rugby Team which included Bronze Medallists from the 2016 Invictus Games, travelled from across the UK to Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham. After meeting their opponents and introducing them to the sport with a skills and drills session, the Māori All Blacks experienced first-hand what it is like to compete in the sport dubbed ‘murderball’ as they went head-to-head in a thrilling match.
Sarah Davies, AIG’s coordinator of the Endeavour Fund partnership and who helped organise the event said: “As Lead Corporate Partner of the Endeavour Fund AIG is delighted to incorporate its sponsorship of New Zealand Rugby to help celebrate the power of sport as a recovery tool. With help from coaches from H4H Sports Recovery who delivered the session today, we are proud to showcase our support and provide this unique experience for wounded, injured and sick veterans and our staff, who came down to support and cheer the teams on.”
The Endeavour Fund was created in 2012 by The Royal Foundation, the private charitable vehicle of their Royal Highnesses’ The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. It supports wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and Veterans using sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation. Last year AIG signed up as the Lead Corporate Partner and exclusive insurance partner for three years.
David Wiseman, Head of Armed Forces Programmes at the Royal Foundation said: “I’m thrilled that through our partnership with AIG we’re able to offer these kind of experiences to wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. It’s not every day that you get the chance to play against the Māori All Blacks rugby team so we’re very grateful to AIG for this incredible opportunity. The Help for Heroes Wheelchair Rugby team had a fantastic time today and really enjoyed putting the Māori All Blacks through their paces and teaching them a few skills. You never know, they may come in handy in future matches!”
Stuart Robinson, H4H Wheelchair Rugby Team Captain and Bronze Medallist at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, said: “The opportunity to play any variant of rugby against the Maori All Blacks is a massive privilege. With their handling skills, technical knowledge and mind-set it should prove to be a good match up against our skills, chair ability and experience. To start with; it'll take them a short while to get used to the chairs and the many different aspects of the game. However, once they've grasped some of these it should prove to be quite a match up. Sport has provided me with the focus and drive to get out of bed and push onto the gym, even on the coldest and darkest days. To have a reason and an opportunity to perform not just in front of crowds but alongside other wounded colleagues, gives me motivation each and every day.”