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Former All Blacks to face MPs in Northland rugby clash

On the other side of the field, rugby veteran and Northland legend Ritchie Guy will coach the parliamentary team, captained by Labor’s Peeni Henare, who hails from nearby Moerewa.

The former defence minister will be joined by Police Minister Mark Mitchell, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts and Nationals MPs Tom Rutherford, Ryan Hamilton and James Meager, as well as ACT’s Cameron Luxton.

Peeni Henare will captain the parliamentary team. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Peeni Henare will captain the parliamentary team. Photo / Michael Cunningham

New Zealand First Vice-Leader Shane Jones, another Northland boy, was listed as a non-playing substitute.

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Jones said he was delighted to bring such a large government delegation to Russell and help raise the profile of Northland.

“We want our community to enjoy the day, rub shoulders with rugby heroes and MPs and take part in post-match activities just like any other community rugby match,” he said.

To that end, the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel will be renamed for the evening so that it can host the post-match event as Russell Rugby Club’s honorary club room.

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel will host post-match events Photo / Michael Cunningham
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel will host post-match events Photo / Michael Cunningham

The Duke’s on Russell Beach was the first hotel in New Zealand to be granted a liquor licence.

Rugby For Life ambassador and former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry said the event also deserved recognition for Russell Rugby and Sports Club.

“Volunteers in this community have worked tirelessly for over 80 years to deliver not just rugby but all sports to the community. It’s great to recognise their achievements and history.”

The New Zealand Parliamentary Rugby Team has raised money for local charities and causes by playing hundreds of matches across the country for the last 25 years.

The Rumble in Russell will support charities such as Russell Rugby and Sports Club and the Rugby For Life Leadership program.

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