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Serious message behind Legends in Hamilton

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Lynn McConnell     03 Sep 2019     Getty Images

Former All Blacks, Pacific nations and New Zealand league representatives will be taking part in the game. Monty Betham, Ruben Wiki and Wairangi Koopu will be lining up with the likes of: Rico Gear, Corey Flynn, Troy Flavell, Jarod Hoeata, Scott Waldrom, Rua Tipoki, Sherwin Stowers and Carlos Spencer et al in the NZ Barbarians Legends side.

NZ Barbarians Legends coach Sir Michael Jones said: "Our aim is to lead the way for our people to make their health a priority and also to put on an entertaining display of rugby and I know these men still have plenty of skill as class never goes away."

Captain Spencer said while there was a lot of fun associated with the build-up to the game, there was also some serious messaging in the need to reduce diabetes and heart disease.

One of the Barbarians Legends side, and an organiser of the game, Kevin Senio said: "Hopefully by connecting more with our friends by doing 20 to 30 minutes of daily activity with others, it can make a real change.

"We also want this match to be a catalyst for our players to made adjustments towards better health and to lead the way for our communities," he said.

One of the Pacific Legends squad is probably still causing nightmares for some All Blacks. Former Wallaby Radike Samo, the scorer of one of the great solo tries against the All Blacks for Australia in the Bledisloe Cup series of 2011, when running half the length of the field, is turning out.

Sevens stars DJ Forbes and Tomasi Camo and key performers like Frank Halai, Roy Kinikinilau, Nili Latu, Filipo Levi, Inoke Afeaki, To'o Vaega and Lesley Vainikolo, who played league for New Zealand and rugby for England, will be among a strong core lining out against the New Zealanders.

One of their side Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo has special cause to be part of the action.

His mother was diagnosed with diabetes and he also works as the chief executive of SouthSeas Healthcare giving him double reason to be part of the game.

"This is a personal and professional challenge for me to make a positive difference and lead the way for healthy lifestyles. I feel very blessed to be selected as part of the Pacific Legends among the giants of rugby and working alongside high profile rugby players, role modelling healthier lifestyles to fight obesity and diabetes," he said.

Rugby was a great platform to use to try and get the message across and raise awareness of obesity and diabetes in their communities, he said.

NZ Barbarians Legends squad:

Mana Ashford, Monty Betham, Jason Chandler, Loki Crichton, Dave Dillon, Rhys Duggan, Ross Filipo, Troy Flavell, Corey Flynn, Rico Gear, Craig Glendenning, Jarod Hoeata, Tony Koonwaiyou, Tone Kopelani, Wairangi Koopu, Johnny Leo'o, Slade McFarlane, Cameron McIntyre, Matt Mustchin, Sonny Parker, Matua Parkinson, Kevin Senio, Chris Smylie, Carlos Spencer, Sherwin Stowers, Niva Ta'auso, Rua Tipoki, Ofisa Tonu'u, Tane Tu'ipolotu, Scott Waldrom, Ruben Wiki.e

Pacific Legends Squad:

Inoke Afeaki, Tomasi Cama, Graham Dewes, DJ Forbes, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, Frank Halai, Jeff Ierome, Roy Kinikinilau, Nili Latu, Filipo Levi, Lua Lokotui, Laisa Maasi, Deacon Manu, Seilala Mapusua, Onehunga Mata’uiau, Luke Mealamu, Mikaele Pesamino, Junior Poluleuigaga, John Senio, Semo Sititi, Hale T Pole, Justin Va’a, To’o Vaega, Samiu Vahafolau, Lesley Vainikolo, Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo, Tanner Vili, Gavin Williams, Radike Samo.