When the Blues run on to the field on Friday night for their round fifteen Investec Super Rugby match against the Sharks it will feature an entire squad of ‘new names’ – complete unknowns.
The ‘new names’ are kids who won a unique charity initiative that was developed by BNZ to raise awareness and funds for Plunket during the annual charity round.
BNZ Future Stars will see the BNZ logo on the front of every jersey worn by the New Zealand teams in round 15 get changed out and replaced with a child’s name. After the match all the jerseys will be sent to the winners to keep as a unique souvenir.
BNZ head of brand, Mike Davy, was amazed with the response, “We’re excited to provide Kiwi kids a unique opportunity to be involved in the national game. Plunket has nurtured their fair share of stars and this is a great way to raise awareness and funds for the brilliant job they are doing for our youngest New Zealanders.”
With a limited number of jerseys up for auction on TradeMe the competition was fierce. The 15 auctions attracted over 24,000 views and hundreds of bids. The other 100 jerseys were allocated through a free online ballot where more than 10,000 fans created a virtual jersey online to enter the draw.
Blues fans got right behind their forward pack with strong bids received on the #1, #2, and #6 jerseys. In the end it was the #1 Blues jersey that got the highest bid with a final offer of $1,025. The #6 jersey went for $755 and #2 jersey for $705. On Friday the #1 jersey will be worn by Tony Woodcock, with Keven Mealamu in #2, and Peter Saili in the #6.
Six of the winners were on hand to present their personalised jersey to the players at the squad naming today at Blues training. The kids at the presentation ranged from two to ten years old and were thrilled to meet the player who will be representing them.
The jerseys will make their debut on Friday night at QBE Stadium when the Blues take on the Sharks. Ten of the children whose names will feature on the players chests will be making up a guard of honour as the players run on to the field.