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US RUGBY FOUNDATION AUCTIONING COMMEMORATIVE JERSEY SIGNED BY ALL FIVE VICTORIOUS WORLD CUP CAPTAINS

A rugby jersey signed by all five of the Rugby World Cup winning captains is the latest jersey to be auctioned off by the United States Rugby Football Foundation.

Quarter-paneled in front, this jersey includes a black panel with an embroidered New Zealand flag along with 1987 Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks captain David Kirk’s autograph; a gold panel with an embroidered Australia flag with the signatures of 1991 RWC winning captain Nick Farr-Jones and 1999 World Cup winning skipper John Eales; a green panel with an embroidered South African flag and the autograph of 1995 winning World Cup Springbok captain Francois Pienaar; and a white panel with an embroidered England flag and the autograph of the 2003 RWC winning England captain Martin Johnson.

The jersey was donated to the Rugby Foundation by John Eales who wants to see the sport’s continued development around the world.

“For the continued growth of rugby as an international sport a key market is the USA,” said the Wallaby legend. “While rugby union has now been a professional sport for over 10 years, over 99% of rugby players are still amateur and this accounts for the entire grass roots junior development of the game worldwide. I thoroughly endorse the work that Brian Vizard and the team at the US Rugby Foundation are doing to promote the game at the development level in the USA.”

Photos of the jersey, along with brief accounts of the five Rugby World Cups to date and short bios about the winning captains can be found on eBay, item #180080753158. The bidding will conclude at 10:00 pm PST on Friday, February 9, 2007.

This commemorative jersey is the latest jersey to be auctioned by the USRFF. Other jerseys auctioned by the USRFF include jerseys worn by England’s Dean Richards; Wales’ Paul Moriarty; France’s Eric Champ; Ireland’s Noel Mannion; Canada’s Glenn Ennis; Australia’s Tim Gavin; Scotland’s Stuart Reid; Italy’s Gianni Zanon; Japan’s Michihito Chida; Romania’s Hary Dumitras; the Barbarians’ Scott Gibbs; and Canada’s Scott Stewart. All proceeds from the auctions benefit the USRFF Ball and High School Start-Up Kit Grant Programs.

The USRFF is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization established in 1963. Although its main focus is supporting youth and high school rugby, the Foundation also provides grants to coaches and referees; establishes international student exchanges and college scholarships, has assisted the United States Collegiate All-Americans and Boys Under-19 teams, and also provides grants to Safety and Risk Management Research.

For more information about the United States Rugby Football Foundation, visit www.usrugbyfoundation.org.

United States Rugby Football Foundation
to Host Steinlager USA Sevens Kickoff Reception

San Diego, CA (January 17, 2007) – Wanting to make the inaugural staging of the USA Sevens rugby tournament in San Diego a memorable one for players and fans alike, the United States Rugby Football Foundation has announced it will be hosting the Steinlager USA Sevens Kickoff Reception. The reception will take place on Wednesday, February 7 from 5:00-7:00 pm at the San Diego Hall of Champions.

“The Rugby Foundation is excited about having the Sevens here in San Diego,” said USRFF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “We are just as excited about hosting the Kickoff Reception. It's not too often that the fans get to see their favorite players up close, let alone get the chance to say a few words to them. We hope the players will enjoy the interaction as much as the fans do.”

Registration and payment must be completed/received by Thursday, February 1, 2007. Click here for more details about the Steinlager USA Sevens Kickoff Reception.

The $35 cost of the Kickoff Reception includes beer, wine, soft drinks and Hors d’oeuvres. Those in attendance will also have the chance to win rugby balls autographed by the different teams as well as tickets to the tournament during the end of the evening raffle.

The USRFF would like to thank Steinlager and Hooker Wines for their support of the 2007 Steinlager USA Sevens Kickoff Reception. All proceeds raised from the event will further the programs offered by the US Rugby Foundation.

The United States Rugby Football Foundation is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote and publicize the amateur sport of rugby in the United States by making grants to organizations and individuals supporting the Foundation's goals and by sponsoring programs that encourage the development of youth rugby and support the education and training of coaches, referees and players.

For more information about the Foundation, go to its website at: www.usrugbyfoundation.org.

UNITED STATES RUGBY FOOTBALL FOUNDATION
ANNOUNCES LATEST BALL GRANT RECIPIENTS

The United States Rugby Football Foundation has announced its latest ball grant recipients. Over the years, the USRFF has provided balls to hundreds of youth and high school programs, helping introduce rugby to thousands of children. The latest recipients include a mix of boys and girls programs, youth and high school clubs and physical education programs.

“The number of youth and high school teams continues to grow across the country and we are pleased that we can continue to assist in the growth of the game here,” said USRFF Executive Director, Brian Vizard. “We’ve been able to provide balls to over 80 clubs and programs so far this year and look forward to continue our support.”

The recent ball grant recipients include:

Bear Valley Middle School Bar-bear-ians, Escondido, CA
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Branford High School RFC, Branford, CT
Broadview Middle School, Danbury, CT
Budd Bay Barbarians, Olympia, WA
Chantilly Youth Association Rugby, Herndon, VA
Cumberland Valley Boys Rugby, Mechanicsburg, PA
Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, Augusta, GA
Essex High School, Essex Junction, VT
Hudson Valley RFC Youth Outreach, Marlboro, NY
Idaho Youth Rugby, Moscow, ID
Manhattan Beach Rugby Tykes, Hermosa Beach, CA
Needham High School, Needham, MA
Peninsula Rugby Club Bulldogs, Bremerton, WA
Pope High School, Acworth, GA
Ridgewood Youth Rugby, Ridgewood, NJ
St. Louis Druids, St. Louis, MO
Union County RFC Youth Rugby, Morristown, NJ
Washington Youth Rugby, Gig Harbor, WA
Wesleyan Middle School PE Program, Norcross, GA

The USRFF is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization established in 1963. Although its main focus is supporting youth and high school rugby, the Foundation also provides grants to coaches and referees; establishes international student exchanges and college scholarships, has assisted the United States Collegiate All-Americans and Boys Under-19 teams, and also provides grants to Safety and Risk Management Research.

For more information about the United States Rugby Football Foundation, visit www.usrugbyfoundation.org.

IRFU SELECT GILBERT

The Irish Rugby Football  Union announced today that it has re-appointed GILBERT as the exclusive Official Ball Supplier to the IRFU.

Commenting on the extension of the partnership, IRFU Commercial Director Padraig Power stated, “The IRFU continues to enjoy a successful relationship with Gilbert. The Gilbert ball is used by a large number of teams, coaches and players around the world and Gilbert's ongoing  ball development programme is most impressive.  We have also been very please with Gilbert’s excellent service record and it’s professional and commercial approach. We are convinced that we have chosen the best ball available for all Ireland's representative teams.

Gilbert’s Sales and Marketing Director Richard Gray stated, "We are delighted that the IRFU have chosen to continue the excellent relationship with Gilbert that we have both  enjoyed for many years now.  This contract again proves Gilbert's commitment to - and investment in - the game of Rugby.”

The IRFU are the latest in a long list of Unions and tournaments who have chosen to renew with Gilbert.  Among many others Gilbert is currently the official ball to Argentina; England; France; Ireland, New Zealand; Scotland; South Africa; Wales; The Super 14; The Guinness Premiership; The Magners( formerly Celtic) League and the 2007 World Cup.

Gilbert are confident that their new Synergie ball will deliver the best all-round performance ever.  A Multi Matrix grip pattern and reaction laminate construction allows the Synergie match ball to deliver improved handling whilst still maintaining the unique kicking performance of the current Xact ball”. The Synergie will be introduced in time for the 2006 Autumn Internationals.
 

USRFF Awards Two Grants to the

International Rugby Academy of New Zealand

 

Scott LaValla and Taylor Mokate are the most recent United States Rugby Football Foundation’s Academy Grant recipients. The announcement was made by USRFF Executive Director Brian Vizard at the conclusion of this past weekend’s US Rugby National High School Championships at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

 

LaValla, a 6’4”, 230 lb. high school junior, plays at lock or in the backrow for his club, the Budd Bay Rugby Club of Olympia, WA. Mokate is an 18 year old high school senior who, at 6’3”, 225 lb, has also been spending time in both the backrow and lock positions. He plays for the Dallas Harlequins Colts and will be attending the University of Oklahoma in the fall.

 

“The Foundation is once again pleased to award these grants to two of the country’s up and coming players,” said USRFF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “Having seen first hand the quality of the facilities and instruction at IRANZ, I can guarantee that these two young men will be enriched by the experienced. Not only will they improve as individuals but will be able to bring back those things they learned to their clubs and teammates.”

 

“We are delighted to have two American players enrolled by the US Rugby Foundation on this course,” said IRANZ Director and former All Blacks great, Murray Mexted. “The cosmopolitan factor adds a real competitive edge with players from the UK, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Italy, and of course New Zealanders.  The thing I have noticed most about American participants over the last 5 years is their lack of nuance for the game in comparison to players from traditional rugby countries who start at 5 and 6 years of age.  Being just 17 and 18 years of age will give these young men an opportunity to grow rapidly in this department and also understanding the expectations and opportunities of the role they are most suited to.  We look forward to Scott and Taylor joining us at the International Rugby Academy.”

 

Both recipients will spend a week at the IRANZ, eating, sleeping and drinking rugby. And both players are looking forward to the opportunity.

 

“Receiving this grant is a tremendous honor,” said LaValla. “To be recognized for achievement from this group of athletes makes me feel truly blessed. I have been coached and supported by an outstanding group of people and I would like to thank my coach and in a lot of ways, my mentor, Pete Sullivan. This man is the reason I have learned this sport to the degree that I have. He deserves much of the credit for my development.”

 

“I have been in a state of shock ever since I received this honor,” said Mokate. “I actually spent the flight back to Dallas repeating it over in my head and re-playing the event, which has developed into a determined outlook to make myself a better and more fit player.”

 

The USRFF would like to thank its IRANZ Grant partners as once again Air New Zealand will be handling the international travel from Los Angeles to New Zealand while TravelCorp will provide travel within the US.

 

The USRFF is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization established in 1963. Although its main focus is supporting youth and high school rugby, the Foundation also provides grants to coaches and referees; establishes international student exchanges and college scholarships, has assisted the United States Collegiate All-Americans and Boys Under-19 teams, and also provides grants to Safety and Risk Management Research.

 

For more information about the United States Rugby Football Foundation, visit www.usrugbyfoundation.org.