Qantas, through its charitable trust, the Qantas Foundation, has pledged a $25,000 cash donation and joined with Australian Rugby Union to assist the Samoan and Tongan communities devastated by last week’s tsunami.
Assistance has also been offered by Qantas to help the ARU freight a supply of rugby related materials to the affected regions.
After discussions at the weekend with the Samoan and Tongan Rugby Unions, ARU announced on Sunday it will donate $10,000 – plus Rugby equipment and clothing – to help alleviate the hardship experienced by its Pacific Island neighbours.
A collection to raise further funds will also be held tomorrow during the Qantas Wallabies’ open training day at St Ignatius College, Riverview, from 9.30am.
Members of the public will be invited to attend the “match simulation” session – to be overseen by two international referees – as players in the 43-man extended training squad make their last bids for Spring Tour selection.
“Qantas has been a prized and valued partner of Australian Rugby for more than 10 years, and have been naming rights sponsor of the Qantas Wallabies since 2004,” said ARU Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill.
“Their wonderful support at this time for the Rugby-loving people of Samoa and Tonga comes as no surprise, but it is certainly greatly appreciated by ARU.
“Qantas saw what we wanted to do and were on the telephone almost immediately seeing how they could assist us, including how we could get Rugby supplies to the islands.
“We will be putting together an extensive supply of Rugby clothing and equipment, including t-shirts, singlets, jerseys and balls, so villages where Rugby is played can once again take up the game.”
Almost 30 villages with Rugby teams were affected by the tsunami and Samoan officials have emphasised that a return to playing Rugby will help young men and their communities overcome the tragedy.
Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce said it was important for the Australian public and business communities to assist in the rebuilding of Samoa and Tonga.
“So many people and communities have been affected by the recent tsunami, including many with family and friends in Australia,” Mr Joyce said.
“We’re proud to sponsor the Qantas Wallabies and are committed to working with the ARU on steps to help the recovery process in Samoa and Tonga.”
The Qantas Foundation, established in 2008, supports charitable causes and communities in need.