• Crusaders and NSW Waratahs pledge $1000 for every try scored to Rural Aid’s Disaster Recovery Fund, supporting farming communities ravaged by drought and recent bushfires
  • Fire and Emergency NZ to have collection buckets at the gate for fans to donate
  • Crusaders and Waratahs Captains to donate a signed jersey for auction


The Crusaders and NSW Waratahs will play for more than just first round points when they kick off their 2020 Investec Super Rugby campaign in Nelson on Saturday night. Both teams have pledged their support to Rural Aid’s Disaster Recovery Fund, and will donate $1000 for every try scored by their team in the match at Trafalgar Park.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said the side’s first match against the Sydney-based Waratahs is a fitting event to show the club’s heartfelt support for everyone affected by the fires in Australia: “We reached out to the Waratahs to let them know we wanted to offer our support, and we’re thrilled that we are able to unite these two teams for a very worthy cause.”

Crusaders Captain Scott Barrett added: “We’re really looking forward to getting to Nelson and starting our 2020 campaign, and this is a fantastic initiative which will see the two sides come together to support emergency reflief across the Tasman. I’m sure rugby fans will be hoping for a high-scoring game and we’re happy to help raise important funds for Rural Aid."

Barrett, who will lead the Crusaders team out in Nelson for the first time as Captain, is also donating his playing jersey from the match, as is his opposite, Waratahs Captain Rob Simmons. Both jerseys will be signed by the playing team and auctioned to raise funds.

Waratahs Captain, Rob Simmons thanked the Crusaders for their support as NSW Rugby embarks on a season-long fundraising campaign of their own.

“It’s an extremely generous offer from the team at the Crusaders and an example of how sport brings people together and becomes a platform to do positive things for those in need,” Simmons said.

“The team at NSW Rugby have been working closely with Rural Aid for some time to get fundraising underway, and when the Crusaders approached us about a [Round 1] fundraiser it was greatly appreciated.

“The team at Rural Aid need all the support they can get right now, they do great work for those who have been impacted by drought over such a long period – you now add the devastation caused by the recent fires and there’s a lot of people who need our help.”

Fire and Emergency NZ Tasman Area Commander, Grant Haywood, and his team will be involved on the night, with a bucket collection at gates and a guard of honour formed for the teams as they run out on to the field. 

Haywood said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together and help our fellow firefighters in Australia who are facing an incredibly challenging time. We know following the Pigeon Valley Fires last year that every bit of support does makes a difference, so we hope that the Tasman community will get behind us as we support our colleagues across the ditch.”

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said it is almost a year since the Pigeon Valley Fires began, giving everyone in the region insight into the devastating and lasting impacts of fire and the challenges that continue long after they are out.  

“Nelson is excited to welcome the Crusaders and Waratahs to Trafalgar Park this weekend and I hope that a high-scoring game and strong crowd numbers will deliver extra support to those affected by the Australian bush fires. Our region understands the devastation that wild fires can bring to communities and this is a great opportunity to support Rural Aid."


About Rural Aid

Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire. Other initiatives support its vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded to ensure their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters.

Visit ruralaid.org.au for further information on these programs and other support for our rural communities