|New Zealand rugby legend Buck Shelford|
In answer to the accommodation shortfall, the IRC have created a novel initiative which will not only provide travelling rugby fans with a truly authentic Kiwi experience, but also raise sought after funds for local rugby clubs around New Zealand.
It’s been dubbed ‘Bring Back Billeting’ and is a throwback to the good old days when travelling sports groups would lodge with local families rather than stay at a hotel.
Shelford, an International Rugby Club founding member, says some of his greatest memories were made when players stayed with host families on rugby trips.
“They welcomed us into their homes, fed us and we often became friends,” Buck said. “It was just good old Kiwi hospitality.”
And that is exactly what the IRC want to showcase - Kiwi hospitality at its finest - to the expected 20,000 visitors travelling from UK and Ireland to New Zealand this June and July.
Bring Back Billeting will allow travelling rugby fans to register their accommodation requirements and the IRC will match them with rugby club members who have offered beds. The host’s rugby club will then be the happy beneficiary of the agreed accommodation fee.
But it’s not just about the fundraising, says Tony Molloy, co-founder of the IRC.
“While fundraising for local rugby clubs is core to everything we do, we also want to bring together like-minded, aka rugby mad people, and create some memorable experiences and hopefully long-lasting mateships,” he says.
The IRC are taking accommodation requests now.
The International Rugby Club is an online club connecting the global rugby community through good times, goodwill and authentic experiences. The IRC’s 2017 Rugby Safari NZ app will be rugby fans one-stop-shop for all the cool stuff to do in and around the rugby in New Zealand during June and July. The app will be available for download from late March 2017.
credit: Tourism New Zealand.