Croatian > Sports > Rugby > Croatian Rugby Union Fundraising Luncheon

Croatian Rugby Union Fundraising Luncheon

Friday 5th September, 2014

The Croatian Rugby Union held a fundraiser luncheon at the Croatian Cultural Society clubrooms on Friday the 5th September 2014.

Over 220 people attended to hear Television New Zealand News Anchor Simon Dallow MC the event. The event began with Dallow interviewing members of the Croatian Rugby 7’s team who 15 years earlier came within 20 seconds of pulling off a major upset to almost beat the New Zealand 7’s team at the 1999 Hong Kong 7’s Tournament.

New Zealand Captain of the day (All Black and 7’s legend) Eric Rush recalled how he scored a try in the last play of the game to come from behind to narrowly beat the strong Croatian team. If New Zealand had lost it would have been the first opening round loss that New Zealand would ever had experienced in the tournaments long history.

Eric Rush, who is now involved in coaching the NZ National team along with Sir Gordon Tietjens, mentioned how Tietjens will often bring up that game as a warning and motivation for the current team when ever he feels added hard work is required at training or prior to a tournament.

Also in attendance was Frano Botica who recalled what it was like and what it meant to him to play rugby for Croatia after earlier being an All Black. Botica along with Matthew Cooper are the only rugby players to have played for both the New Zealand All Blacks and Croatian National rugby teams.

Following lunch Eric Rush guest spoke most entertainingly for 45 minutes about rugby, life and the importance of backing talent up with hard work. It would have to have been the longest that I have heard someone speak at the Croatian Club without being interrupted and Eric’s talk was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in attendance.

Once again we were fortunate enough to have had a musical cultural performance provided by Goran Kacurov. Auctioneer Mark Sumich auctioned our signed memorabilia including All Black and Croatian rugby jerseys and an All Black jersey, donated by All Black Anthony Boric, signed by the entire 2011 World Cup winning All Black Team. The framed Croatian and All Black rugby jerseys was purchased at auction by Len Ireland who very kindly offered this back to the Croatian Rugby Union for us to on-donate this to the Croatian Cultural Society for them to display.


There was also a long list of raffle items and we are extremely appreciative of all who donated items for both the raffles as well as product that we were able to provide to all who attended to help enhance the day. It was also an ideal opportunity for the Croatian Rugby Union to publicly thank and acknowledge our New Zealand Sponsors - Peter and Andrew Talley from Talley’s Group, Marija Kapiteli from Croatian Times Travel and our new apparel sponsors Peter and Tyler Rakich from BLK Sport.

It would be remiss to fail to acknowledge the fantastic ongoing support and assistance that we continue to receive from the Croatian Cultural Society and their major contribution is a significant factor involved in the success of the day and our fundraising events. President Goran Katich and Secretary Katica Katich not only provided valuable advice and guidance but their coordination of the tremendous group of Club committee members, volunteers and workers on the day was invaluable.

Thank you and all involved for your help in assisting in the future development and success of Croatian Rug by.

All proceeds raised will go towards assisting in the air fares for New Zealand born Croatian players to travel to Croatia in order to play for the Croatian National Rugby team in the upcoming International Test series. And finally a big thanks to everyone who attended, it was much appreciated to again see the continued sup port from our loyal supporters and we look forward to enjoying your company next time.

Michael Borich, Croatian Rugby Union


CRU Sponsor, Tyler Rakich – BLK Sport, Croatian Rugby National Coach - Milan Yelavich, Guest Speaker - Eric Rush, Croatian Rugby Union NZ Representative - Michael Borich, CRU Sponsor, Marija Kapiteli – Croatia Times Travel and Guest Speaker - Frano Botica.


TVNZ News Anchor Simon Dallow interviews players involved in the 1999 Hong Kong 7’s NZ/Croatian game (Simon Dallow, Eric Rush, Reon Graham, Anthony Zivkovich and Blair Urlich)