Wiki back for Samoan team

Central Leader - - News - By Alan Apted

Ruben Wiki will re­alise a life­long rugby league dream when he runs out for a tsunami dis­as­ter re­lief ben­e­fit match at Mt Smart Sta­dium to­mor­row wear­ing the colours of his mother’s home­land, Samoa.

Wiki, New Zealand rugby league’s most capped in­ter­na­tional, is com­ing out of re­tire­ment es­pe­cially for the match be­tween a Samoan Res­i­dents team and a Barter­Card se­lec­tion.

He is the only ex­pa­tri­ate in the Toa Samoa side and he’s all revved up to go.

“This will def­i­nitely be a dream come true,” he says.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to play for Samoa. It’s the only thing in league I haven’t done.”

Wiki’s mother Etesa is Samoan. Her vil­lages, Ma­giagi and Safo­tu­lafai, were un­touched by last week’s tsunami.

“The fam­i­lies are all safe,” Wiki says. “Mum was wor­ried sick when news of the tsunami broke but she’s okay now.”

And Wiki’s good mate the Mad Butcher, Peter Leitch, is also com­ing out of re­tire­ment to cook a bar­be­cue at the game.

He’s do­nat­ing all the sausages, cook­ing them him­self and then match­ing dol­lar for dol­lar ev­ery­thing raised up to $5000.

Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil is waiv­ing all charges for the use of the coun­cil-owned sta­dium and is urg­ing peo­ple to get along to the game.

All gate pro­ceeds from the game, along with funds from a bucket col­lec­tion, will go to the Samoan tsunami re­lief fund.

Gates open at 2pm. The cur­tain­raiser is a 10-min­utes each way Fetu Samoa v Auck­land In­vi­ta­tional wom- en’s sev­ens match kick­ing off at 2.30pm. The main game starts at 3.30pm.

Tick­ets adults $5, chil­dren 15 and un­der $2, un­der-2s free. Gate sales only.

Photo: NEIL DUDDY

Back into it: Rugby league great Ruben Wiki gets in some prac­tice in the gym ahead of to­mor­row’s tsunami dis­as­ter re­lief match.

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