Blues Super Rugby Aotearoa players collected used rugby boots for their Best Foot Forward scheme at Takutai Square in central Auckland yesterday.

By donating unwanted boots, people are helping to overcome the biggest barrier to sport participation for the nearly one in three kids living in poverty in New Zealand – cost.

Rieko Ioane and captain Patrick Tuipulotu lacing boots for the Best Foot Forward scheme. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Rieko Ioane and captain Patrick Tuipulotu lacing boots for the Best Foot Forward scheme. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The boots are cleaned, fitted out with Blues blue laces and put into a boot bag for delivery to their new owner through the clubs and schools registered with the organisation.

The Blues will be hoping their good works will put them in good stead against the Super Rugby Aotearoa Champions, the Crusaders, who they face in a sell-out match at Eden Park on Sunday.

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A total 43,236 tickets have been sold for the final clash of the competition matching the opening game on June 14 as rugby fans celebrated the end of lockdown and the return of the national game.

Beauden Barrett lines up new laces during the Best Foot Forward programme at Takutai Square. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Beauden Barrett lines up new laces during the Best Foot Forward programme at Takutai Square. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Best Foot Forward has organised the donation of more than 700 pairs of rugby boots to kids in need since the programme began in 2017.

Boots can be gifted at one of the regular events involving the Blues around the Auckland region or by personal delivery to the team's training facility in Epsom.

Bagged boots from Blues players, during the Best Foot Forward program. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Bagged boots from Blues players, during the Best Foot Forward program. Photo / Brett Phibbs

You can follow the Blues' visits to clubs and schools on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and share your own photos and stories using #BluesBFF