Scoring tries for disaster aid
CLUBS in the local rugby league have been offered a worthy incentive to win: score a try and help the people of Japan.
This is the concept devised by Bluff rugby club Harlequins to assist those caught in the devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east Japan less than two weeks ago.
Every try scored during the remaining games of the Frank Norris under-20 A league season will raise R300 for the “Tries for Charity” campaign. The funds will be donated to a designated earthquake disaster fund.
Harlequins coach Andy Keast was inspired to help by the presence of Matsushima Kotaro, the first Japanese player in the Sharks Academy, in his team: “I had seen what was happening in Japan on the news at the time, and I thought of Kotaro, this young lad whose family is there.
“I thought: ‘ Why aren’t we trying to do something to help?’”
Pretoria-born Kotaro, whose mother is Japanese and whose late father was Zimbabwean, began attending the Sharks Academy in Durban in January, after being chosen from 500 applicants last year. The fullback also represented Japan in its under-18 national side last year.
Keast and the KZN Rugby Union asked McCarthy Toyota KZN CEO Jimmy Smith to support the campaign.
With Toyota’s parent company being Japanese, Smith offered to sponsor R300 for every try scored by the six clubs in the league, pledging up to R15 000.
“It would be fantastic if other companies could match, if not better, their offer. We can raise a nice amount of money for Kotaro to donate to the people of Japan,” said Keast.
Kotaro’s mother is a social worker in Tokyo, where he attended Toin Gakven High School. He is living with a host family on the Bluff.
The quiet but friendly Kotaro said his family and home in Japan had survived the earthquake and tsunami, and he hoped to visit them during the Easter holiday.
Speaking about the charity campaign, he said: “This means good news for Japan, and I will try my best to score.”
Other businesses that would like to take up the challenge should phone Albert Hanekom at 031 308 8400 or e-mail al[email protected]
Harlequins fullback Matsushima Kotaro hopes to score lots of tries in the Frank Norris under-20 A league season, as each try scored will earn money for the victims of the earthquake in Japan.