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Nude Blacks prepare for wet game

Thursday 13 Sep 2012 11:41 p.m.

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By Dave Goosselink

It's a decade since Dunedin students first challenged visiting backpackers to a game of nude rugby.

It's now a popular curtain raiser before All Blacks tests in the city. Today players interrupted their training for a good cause.

It was a cheeky training run to acclimatise to the conditions, ahead of this weekend's big match.

And there's no roof for the Nude Blacks, captain Dave Bourke says they will brave the elements at an open rugby ground, with rain forecast for Saturday.

“If it snows, we've done some training in the snow as well before so we know how to handle it.”

Bourke is the only original in the squad, a veteran of the first nude game on St Kilda beach.

“It was a lot colder than this 10 years ago as well, like the beach was frozen solid.”

But the team have interrupted their intensive training regime for a good cause.

This charity dinner and exhibition rowing race raising money for a six-year-old girl named Jessica, who's been battling acute myeloid leukaemia at Starship Hospital.

Coach Devon Latoa says it was the team’s idea to raise money.

“It was actually the lads, the lads were saying ‘look we need to do something for charity’. We need to use this momentum, we need to raise some funds for a good cause. And there was a family connection there to the Nude Blacks family, and that brings us here tonight.”

Jessica’s uncle Duncan Rae has been completing a sponsored challenge, rowing a million metres over a hundred days.

“The rowing machine would be the hardest piece of equipment I've ever exercised on,” he says. “It is an absolute brute.”

Last night guests watched him test his stamina against Fiona Bourke, an Olympic quadruple sculls rower and members of the Nude Blacks team.

“Everyone has been absolutely amazing and really opened their hearts for little Jess, it's all about Jess,” Bourke says.

Jess is finally back home in Napier, but still has monthly checkups at Starship.

On Saturday she will be wearing the pink t-shirt of her new favourite rugby team, as the Nude Blacks take the park in Dunedin.

Warning: the video contains nudity.

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