Rugby clash for good cause

Dairy farmer Josh Dondertman is set to play in a flood-affected farmers rugby fundraiser in Ashburton this Sunday.

Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust board chairman Josh Dondertman will line up against some of New Zealand’s former top rugby talent in Ashburton on Sunday in a fundraising rugby match for flood-affected farmers.

The New Zealand Parliamentary Rugby Team will play the Fonterra Good Together team, coached by Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson, at the Ashburton Showgrounds. Kick off is at 12.30pm.

Josh, 37, will wear the halfback jersey for the Fonterra team. The dairy farmer, who only took over the helm at RST last month, has not played rugby for a least three years and the last time he played halfback he was 21-years-old.

However he planned on pulling his weight in a game tipped to be quite competitive and contain some A-level players especially with Golden Oldies rules and rolling subs.

I’ve been told we will be competitive; we are not allowed to lose, he said.

RST welfare co-ordinator Frances Beeston said there was an awesome line up of celebrities and players attending.

Organisers were ‘‘pulling out the big guns’’ with Razor Robertson, who had volunteered his time for the cause, ex-All Blacks on both teams and broadcaster Scotty Stevenson lined up as MC.

‘‘If you’re in the Ashburton area on Sunday … we’d love to see you at the game to show your support for the players and community.

‘‘There will be food, giveaways and fun for the whole family and, most importantly, we will be presenting the Rural Support Trust with a big cheque at the end of the match.’’

The money raised would help support for those in the district and across the South Island affected by recent flooding.

The fundraiser came about after dairy giant Fonterra put up a challenge to the Parliamentary rugby team, and then supportive sponsors had come on board with some high-end products, services and experiences up for auction on Trade Me, including hotel accommodation packages, rugby game deals, corporate hospitality packages, food experiences and signed sporting gear. All proceeds were going to the support trust.

Ms Beeston encouraged anyone who was able to round up their families, friends and work teams and head to the Ashburton Showgrounds for a great family day.