Farah Palmer and her former front row partner in the Black Ferns Margaret McCarrigan and current All Black, Adam Thompson deserve Gold Medals for the work they did in getting the Otago Women’s NPC team back into the 2012 NPC Competition after the Otago Rugby Union pulled the team from the competition because of its financial crisis.
The legendary Farah Palmer started getting the ball rolling through her column in the Otago Daily Times on 11th April, saying 200 current and former Otago Women’s rugby players and supporters around the world should donate $100 each to cover the $20,000 needed to get the team back into the NPC for the future of Women’s rugby in Otago hinged on this. She donated the first $100.
The challenge wasn’t an easy one as the NZRU had only given them until 30th April to raise the money. Margaret McCarrigan took up the challenge and prominent rugby people in New Zealand like Justin Marshall, Ken Laban, Darryl Suasua, Melodie Robinson and Adam Thomson along with RUGBYGIRL and Labour politician Trevor Mallard joined in. Adam Thomson became a shinning light starting up a bank account for donations and putting up on Trade Me his 2010 RWC Autographed Rugby Ball and some of his Highlanders gear. Adam raised over $7,500 through his endeavours.
A week before the cut off date they still needed $7,000 but with the ongoing great press from the Otago Daily Times and the single minded efforts of Margaret McCarrigan the funding target was reached and the NZRU allowed the team back into the NPC Competition.
With the proud history of Women’s rugby in Otago, the plans to develop the number of NPC teams in New Zealand significantly over the next four years and the push to develop Sevens hugely in Secondary Schools keeping the Otago team in the NPC was probably the most important single thing ever achieved for Women’s rugby in New Zealand for without this the NZRU’S Strategic Plan for Women’s rugby could never become a reality. Hopefully when New Zealand Women Sevens win Gold at the 2016 Olympics Farah, Margaret and Adam are remembered for what they contributed to make this happen.
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