We were thrilled to be asked by global insurer AIG UK to run a very special event on the 3rd of November, well I mean it’s not every day that we get to run a session which includes veterans, visually impaired people and some of the top Rugby players in the world!
AIG UK , the Official Insurance Partner of New Zealand Rugby invited five members of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team to experience the sport we love and adore, Goalball. The rugby players wore eyeshades and were pitted against players from AIG’s charity partners of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Endeavour Fund, as well as AIG employees.
AIG originally came up with the idea of engaging all of their partners in a day of Goalball as they are determined to raise awareness of the power of sport as a tool for recovery and rehabilitation, and as Goalball was originally created in 1946 as a means of assisting in the rehabilitation of visually impaired WWII veterans, they felt it was the perfect fit for the event.
On the day : after the All Blacks had met their new teammates and assessed their opponents, the teams were introduced to the game with a skills and drills session. Everyone threw themselves into the thrilling, (and pretty daunting) experience of competing in a sport designed for people with sight loss, which had all, rugby player or not, on a level playing field as they each wore blindfolds. The teams went head-to-head in an exciting series of matches, with Ardie Savea’s team winning the day and then everyone was given the opportunity to take part in a penalty shootout against our Director, Georgie Bullen and fellow GB player, Dan Roper. Whilst Georgie and Dan managed to defend all of the penalty shots thrown at them by the players from the charity partners, when New Zealand All Black Lima Sopoaga stepped up to challenge Georgie, he managed to send his shot flying passed her and, much to her frustration, Georgie’s return shot went out! New Zealand All Blacks 1 – Georgie 0.
Sarah Davies, Corporate Citizenship and Events Manager at AIG said:
“AIG is proud of its partnerships with the RNIB and Endeavour Fund, as well as its status as Official Insurance Partner of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. We’re delighted to bring together our partnerships to create this unique, money-can’t-buy experience for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, people with sight loss, AIG employees and the All Blacks, celebrating the power of sport when used as a recovery tool for those who are wounded or have lost their sight. I found today truly inspiring and would like to thank Georgie and Team Insight for delivering a truly fun and memorable teambuilding experience for our guests. everyone involved. ”
Georgie Bullen, our Director said:
“We are delighted to be asked by AIG to be involved in this event. Today not only highlights the power that sport possesses in aiding recovery, but also its ability to unite people from all different backgrounds, abilities and disabilities. We are so excited to bring together such a cross section of participants; visually impaired, wounded veterans and members of The All Blacks, and have them learn and compete alongside each other.
“We are always so keen to spread the message of Goalball ; the sport was created after WWII to aid in the rehabilitation of blinded veterans and therefore fits perfectly with AIG’s message of the power of sport.”
Harry Meade, RNIB Corporate Partnerships Manager, said:
“It’s fantastic that through our partnership with AIG we’re able to give people with sight loss the opportunity to enjoy experiences such as playing goalball alongside members of the All Blacks rugby team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’m sure will live in memories forever, and we’re extremely grateful to AIG for making it happen.
“It was great to see everyone getting involved and I hope that playing goalball helped the All Blacks to get a sense of what it might be like to live with sight loss and challenge some of the myths and misconceptions encountered by blind and partially sighted people.”
Stuart Croxford, Endeavour Fund Programme Manager at The Royal Foundation, said:
“It’s fantastic for the Endeavour Fund to be invited to yet another great AIG event after the success of the wheelchair rugby last year. With the valued partnership between AIG and the Endeavour Fund we are able to support wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women embraced sporting challenges as a part of their rehabilitation and transition from the armed forces. To see them take on the All Blacks rugby team on a level playing field is an amazing opportunity and I know they are extremely excited about.”
To see more photos of our event, visit our Facebook page at @TeamInsightLTD