New Zealand Rugby coming to Jacksonville
The New Zealand Police Rugby League Team performing the Haka during pre-game
After a great visit to Jacksonville in 2008, that saw the Axemen go down to the New Zealand side 52 to 16, the Fencibles will return to the North Florida city due to the wonderful experience and warm welcome they received on their last trip. And this time the Axemen have been joined by a host of local teams and organizations in an effort to show the international law enforcement athletes how great Jacksonville really is.
The team arrives into the Jacksonville International Airport on may 19th and will be hosted as VIP’s that evening by Whisky River for the Alive After 5 concert that goes from 5pm till 9pm (the concert is free and open to the Public). The HAKA will be performed live for the crowd by the New Zealand team at about 7.30pm between the live band sets.
Saturday (May 21) the team will take part in a social game of Cricket in the morning that has been arranged by Rahgu Misra of the American Cricket Academy before being hosted by the Jacksonville Suns for their Southern League Baseball game against the Birmingham Barons. The Suns fans will also have an opportunity to see the HAKA live, in what will be a very unique experience at a baseball ground. The Suns game starts at 7pm with the Haka headlining the pre-game ceremonies.
Sunday (May 22nd) the Jacksonville Axemen will be joined by some local JSO Officers as the team takes on the New Zealanders at Hodges Stadium at UNF. Kick off is planned by 2pm with the Axemen having to face the HAKA before the game gets underway.
The post game social function will be at Time Out Sports Grill following the game and all fans and supporters are encouraged to join both teams and show the visitors a warm welcome.
Monday (May 23) Carrabbas Italian Grill will host the Fencibles for a lunch that will also include some representatives of those teams and groups who helped make the visit such a success. This will be an opportunity to exchange some gifts and strengthen the relationships between the nations via the great sport of Rugby League.
Tuesday (May 24) the Jacksonville Jaguars will take the visitors on a behind the scenes tour of the NFL facilities and give them an insight into the day to day life of an American Football Player in the National Football League.
The team will then depart on Wednesday for Philadelphia where they will compete in the USA Rugby League 9’s Tournament that is being hosted by the Philadelphia Fight club.
“Is there any wonder why international teams continue to come to Jacksonville”, said Spinner Howland. “The people of Jacksonville, the businesses and even the other sporting organizations have done so much and shown such incredible hospitality to all the overseas teams that have visited. When a Rugby League team, a Baseball Team, an NFL Team and even a cricket organization can come together under the name “Jacksonville” to show international sports teams a warm welcome, that does amazing things for the city. These guys tell everyone around the world how great their experience was and that encourages more and more teams to consider Jacksonville as a travel destination. We are very proud to be apart of that.”
More details about the New Zealand Fencibles visit will be released over the coming week.