Prized boots help get players on the field

By Doug Laing

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TREASURE: Michael Hoffman, 13, holds his most prized pair of boots, signed by Hurricanes stars Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara, before putting them into the box with 15 other pairs the family's donating to the Hawke's BayToday Bring yer Boots campaign. At right is brother and rugby player Rocky, 14.
TREASURE: Michael Hoffman, 13, holds his most prized pair of boots, signed by Hurricanes stars Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara, before putting them into the box with 15 other pairs the family's donating to the Hawke's BayToday Bring yer Boots campaign. At right is brother and rugby player Rocky, 14.

It was just like parting with old friends as young Taradale rugby players Rocky and Michael Hoffman and dad Andrew waved goodbye to a teamful of football rugby boots yesterday.

But it was a classic display of the old rugby adage that nothing is bigger than the game as their lifetime collection of boots was donated to the Hawke's Bay Today Bring yer Boots campaign.

The 16 pairs (one was an odd pair) include a pair signed just last week by Hurricanes stars Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara, and used at the weekend by Michael to score nine points in a pre-season friendly for the Taradale Predators.

Mr Hoffman had wondered as the boots gradually filled the bin at home what he would do with them, and pondered selling them online.

"But, nah, that sounded too hard," he said, after arriving at the newspaper's Hastings counter with the collection yesterday morning to offer his lot to those struggling to get a game without the right gear.

"I know what it's like," he said. "I was in the same boat when I was a kid."

With the boys at school, there was one decision he couldn't make, leaving it to the boys to decide what to do with the purple and yellow autographed pair.

Michael, who turns 13 today and was a Saracens player in last year's Wakely Shield primary schools tournament, had no hesitation in donating them to the cause. He has, after all, a new pair which he hopes will help get him into the Ross Shield tournament this year. Rocky, 14 and at Taradale High School, has already represented Hawke's Bay at Under 13 level.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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