Rugby

Fitzpatrick learns 'new' haka

2011-08-18 20:07
Sean Fitzpatrick (File)

Soweto - A group of 60 children taught legendary New Zealand skipper Sean Fitzpatrick a new Haka on Thursday, which he is likely to remember for quite some time.

The kids, who on a previous Laureus Sport for Good Foundation outing in Soweto had the chance to meet Argentine legend Hugo Porta, waited patiently for Fitzpatrick to arrive.

There was, however, a distinct difference between the two inspirational days, and perhaps that had to do with the fact that every child at the Pace Community College's fields had seen a Haka before.

Fitzpatrick loved their passionate rendition that was very similar to what fans at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will expect on Saturday.

"That was pretty cool, wasn't it," said the World Cup winning All Black.

"They actually want me to teach them the New Zealand Haka, but I think I'd be too embarrassed because that was much better than what I can do."

Another highlight for the man, who will undoubtedly bank on his team to win their first World Cup since 1987 in October, was seeing a group of kids who had earlier this year travelled to the Hong Kong Sevens as part of a Laureus project specifically aimed at promoting rugby.

"To see those children here that I saw in Hong Kong in March, where they were part of our rugby project, was just tremendous," said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick's views, that sports icons have a responsibility to inspire, were echoed by another former international who just happened to turn up.

"When famous people like Sean Fitzpatrick come here it has a great effect on the kids," said former Irish scrumhalf John Robbie.

"Maybe some of these kids don't remember him playing, but their parents will tell them about him and so will their coaches.

"For some of these kids to have one of the greatest players in the world coming to Soweto to watch them train is wonderful, and who knows what benefit it will have."

For the Soweto Schools Rugby Project, which has already inspired almost a thousand children to play touch rugby, meeting the man who their daily role model - project director Dali Ndebele - considers the top number two of all time, was a unique experience.

"As the afternoon progressed and a lot of them interacted with John Robbie and Sean Fitzpatrick, there was a little bit of a swagger in their step, and their chests were out, and you could see that their confidence and self esteem were a little bit better," said Ndebele.

"To have a player who was the best in the world, and would be the hooker if a world 15 was selected, tell them that they too can be the best is really priceless."

Read more on:    sean fitzpatrick  |  soweto
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