Rugby: Australian club players kick in to lift Fijian soles

Former Australian international Radike Samo is an ambassador for the Boots 4 Fiji drive. Photo / Getty
Former Australian international Radike Samo is an ambassador for the Boots 4 Fiji drive. Photo / Getty

Collecting boots for the barefoot kids of Fiji who dream of becoming world champion sevens players is stirring an outpouring of support from a Brisbane rugby club.

Forty used pairs have been donated but Fijian-bred players Chris Kuridrani, former Wallaby Radike Samo and Rika Batibasaga have only 48 hours to reach their goal of 200.

The Boots 4 Fiji drive at GPS Rugby Club is personal for Queensland Reds winger Kuridrani who has seen the power of hand-me-down footy boots in his village of Namatakula.

"Back home they don't have much and it's a real struggle for parents to afford new boots," Kuridrani said.

"Ever since I've been playing rugby in Brisbane I've been sending my old boots home.

"I love seeing the smiles on the faces of my nephews and cousins.

"One of them ended up playing in the Fiji Under-20 squad with my boots and now he's handed them down to his little brother."

Having boots is often a luxury for young Fijian players.

Collection boxes at the GPS club at Yoku Road, Ashgrove today and tomorrow will gather more pairs for distribution to the Fijian villages of Namatakula, Komaue and Biausevu.

In this throwaway society, the Boots 4 Fiji campaign is also a valuable exercise for Queensland's own young footy players.

Former Wallaby Anthony Herbert, the GPS Rugby Club president, hopes it teaches them to be more appreciative of what they have.

"Kids nowadays change their boots if they don't like the colour but the kids in Fiji just want boots", Herbert said.

GPS Rugby Club has a strong bond with Fiji, with Batibasaga also on the wing in Premier Rugby, and care packages were recently sent to areas hit by Cyclone Winston.

The three players are leading the Boots 4 Fiji campaign as ambassadors.

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 27 May 2017 10:21:01 Processing Time: 586ms