Inspirational Nikau set for earthquake match
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.