In­spi­ra­tional Nikau set for earth­quake match

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

FOR­MER Ki­wis star Taw­era Nikau says he’s ready to play in a Christchurch earth­quake char­ity rugby league match de­spite hav­ing an ar­ti­fi­cial leg.

The game in Auck­land to­mor­row week will fea­ture a host of New Zealand greats such as Olsen Fili­paina, Kurt Sorensen, Hugh McGa­han, Stacey Jones and Reuben Wiki along with sev­eral Aus­tralians in­clud­ing Mario Fenech and David Peachey.

But it’s Nikau, a feared, hard-run­ning lock for­ward i n h i s N R L d a y s w i t h Cronulla and Mel­bourne, who will be the main at­trac- tion if he takes the field at Mt Smart Sta­dium.

Nikau, who won an NRL pre­mier­ship with the Storm in 1999, had his right leg a m p u t a t e d f o l l o w i n g a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent eight years ago.

But the 44-year-old hasn’t let his dis­abil­ity slow him down much, as he proved last year when he com­pleted the New York marathon along­side for­mer All Black Frank Bunce.

Next week’s game has been or­gan­ised by the New Zealand Rugby League and a host of for­mer Kiwi in­ter­nati o n a l s . G a r y F r e e m a n , h e l p e d to­gether.

NZRL chief ex­ec­u­tive Jim Doyle said rugby l eague wanted to do their bit to sup­port those af­fected by the earth­quake.

‘‘ Ev­ery­one in the coun­try is try­ing to find some way of help­ing the peo­ple in Christchurch and the Can­ter­bury re­gion,’’ Doyle said.

‘‘ Stag­ing the Le­gends of League Char­ity Match is our way of bring­ing peo­ple in Auck­land to­gether to pro­vide some sup­port for a com­mu­nity that’s been dev­as­tated and is in des­per­ate need.’’

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The list of play­ers set to be in­volved is: Wil­lie Talau, David Kid­well, Luke Covell, Alex Chan, Olsen Fili­paina, K u r t S o r e n s e n , An d r e w Lomu, Ja­son Wil­liams, Sam P a n a p a , S e a n H o p p e , Q u e n t i n P o n g i a , D a v i d Peachey, Mario Fenech, Awen Gut­ten­biel, Stacey J o n e s , M o n t y B e t h a m , Richie Bar­nett, Wairangi Koopu, Lo­gan Swann, Joe V a g a n a , R u b e n W i k i , T a w e r a N i k a u , P a u l Rauhihi, Jerry Seuseu, Tea Ro p a t i , De a n L o n e r g a n , C l a y t o n F r i e n d , D u a n e Mann, Fran­cis Leota, Hugh McGa­han.

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