TJ Perenara's auction of All Blacks Test jersey for 'long-time friend' seriously hurt in Muay Thai bout tops $3,000

An auction set up by All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara to support a friend injured in a freak accident during a Muay Thai fight on the weekend has reached $3,000.

Perenara threw his support behind Porirua kickboxer Ra Radden after he suffered a serious spinal injury while fighting last Saturday with a donation to Radden's Givealittle page as well as setting up an auction for one of his Test jersey's on TradeMe.

"My long time friend Ra Redden was competing in Muay Thai when he was involved in a freak accident," Perenara posted on his social media.

"I am auctioning off my test jersey to raise additional funds to go towards supporting Ra and his whanau.

"The journey ahead will be difficult, but any support we can provide will help.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - OCTOBER 01:  TJ Perenara of New Zealand runs with the ball during match between New Zealand and Argentina as part of Rugby Championship 2016 at Jose Amalfitani Stadium on October 01, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
TJ Perenara of New Zealand runs with the ball during match between New Zealand and Argentina as part of Rugby Championship 2016. Source: Getty

"The jersey is from the All Blacks vs Argentina test match on 30 September 2017 in Buenos Aires. The winner of the auction can decide whether or not they would like me to sign it also."

Radden, 26, was fighting for the light middleweight title against Gene Elbourne at the Honour 15 Muay Thai tournament at the Porirua Kennel Club when the accident happened.

Family spokesperson Mike Angove told the NZ Herald that Radden and Elbourne both hit the canvas during a reverse twist.

"Both fighters fell heavily with Ra on the bottom and Ra's head was on a really unfortunate angle and he sustained a neck injury," said Angove.

Redden received emergency surgery at Wellington Hospital to relieve pressure on his spinal cord after he fractured and twisted one of his vertebrae before he was flown to Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch for specialised care.

The auction, which currently sits at $3,000 after outdoing the old leading bid of $2,200 this morning, closes tomorrow night at 8:30pm.

The auction could be extended by Perenara.


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'It will change a few lives' - Lima Sopoaga using English payday to help family

Former All Blacks first-five Lima Sopoaga has opened up about his decision to trade the black jersey for financial security, leaving New Zealand for English side Wasps earlier this year.

Sopoaga, 27, became yet another All Black to head abroad, signing a lucrative deal with English Premiership side Wasps, forgoing the chance to turn out for New Zealand at next year's World Cup in Japan.

In an interview with The Times though, Sopoaga says that the financial security on offer from the English club was too great to turn down.

"To come over here, to uproot my partner [Miriam] and daughter [Milla, aged one] was a very big decision," Sopoaga said.

"But in the long run, it will be the right one. Guys in New Zealand who are second or third string, we're not getting paid the same as the Beauden Barretts.

"I fell into that category, I've no qualms about it, that's the way it goes."

Sopoaga also said that his English payday is going towards helping his extended family, rather than on extravagant purchases.

"I'm not just playing for myself over here, it's about making a better life for my family, making Mum and Dad's life a bit easier, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

"Now, if I'm smart and make the right choices, if I'm not buying stupid cars and stuff like that, this money will be put to good use. It won't just change my life, it will change a few lives."

Sopoaga concluded by saying he has no regrets about his exit from New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks jersey.

"Yeah, you can say, who wouldn't want to play 50 Tests and go to a World Cup?"

But I've been an All Black, it was an awesome part of my life. But life's not always that simple and it's time to write a new chapter."

Lima Sopoaga celebrates against South Africa
Lima Sopoaga celebrates against South Africa Source: Photosport


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Dane Coles prepares for long-awaited return to action - ‘He'll bring some fire and niggle off the bench’

It's been almost a year since he was last seen on the rugby field, but Dane Coles is finally set to make his long-awaited return from injury.

The 56-time capped All Black hooker hasn't played since last November, but will come off the bench in Wellington's crucial Mitre 10 Cup clash against Taranaki tomorrow night.

The plan is for him to have 20 minutes off the bench in the final round robin game of the season.

It's been close to a year since Coles injured his knee against France.

"Having played with him for a few years, it's really encouraging and I'm really pumped to have him back in the team," said fellow front row forward Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

"And I know he'll bring some fire and niggle off the bench." 

The All Blacks hooker will turn out for Wellington tomorrow, having not played since last November. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala shows off scars from broken arm as he prepares for rugby return

After nearly seven months on the sidelines, All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala is firming for his return to action, named on the bench for Counties' Mitre 10 Cup season finale against Canterbury on Saturday.

Having cemented his spot in the All Blacks' front row towards the end of 2017, Laulala's season was derailed just two weeks into his 2018 campaign, suffering a broken arm playing for the Chiefs. 

However, after a long road to recovery, Laulala is just one of three All Blacks front rowers to make their returns this weekend, with the Counties prop having seen the silver lining in his time away from rugby.

"It feels like an eternity," he began.

"I'm just really grateful for the time I got with my family - especially my wife. We're expecting our first child, (I'm) just trying to stay on the positive side of it all."

This isn't Laulala's first brush with serious injury, snapping three ligaments in 2015, ruled out for a year afterwards and fearing he'd never play again.

The burly front rower has used his experience though, helping him to come back stronger for a second time.

"I've been through some pretty intense trainings lately."

"This is my first full week with the boys. I'm going for whatever minutes I get, even if I get five minutes, I'll just be grateful to get back on the field, and just get an opportunity again."

Laulala will make his Counties debut, should he come off the bench.

After injury at the start of Super Rugby, Laulala will play for Counties this week. Source: 1 NEWS


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Beauden Barrett 'still the number one' first-five over Richie Mo'unga, says Dan Carter

All Blacks great Dan Carter has thrown his support firmly behind Beauden Barrett as the first-choice in the number 10 jersey heading into next year's World Cup, following Richie Mo'unga's heroics against South Africa last weekend.

Coming off the bench in the second half in Pretoria, Mo'unga proved to be the All Blacks' saviour, slotting a conversion after the final whistle to steal the win after his side had been 30-13 down to the resurgent Springboks.

With Barrett having moved to fullback to accommodate Mo'unga's inclusion, debate has begun to arise as to whether or not the twice reigning World Player of the Year stay in the number 15 jersey, allowing for both stars to play at the same time though.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB this morning though, Carter said that the All Blacks need to persist with Barrett as the creative linchpin of the side.

Mo'unga is set to start in the No.10 jersey against Argentina in Nelson. Source: 1 NEWS

"He's still the number one 10 but to have the competition with Richie there, and when the time is right in certain games for Beaudie to go to the back and Richie come on and add another string to the backline," he said.

"It's the kind of depth and competition you want in a squad.

"For me Beaudie is still the leader in that All Blacks side and what he's achieved in the last three or four years has been incredible."

Carter also praised Mo'unga's emergence as a genuine world class player, having steered the Crusaders to back to back Super Rugby titles.

"I'm extremely proud of Richie and the way he's progressed over the last couple of years. I worked with him down at the Crusaders and he's got such a clear head. He doesn't let pressure get to him as we saw in the weekend.

"The fact he's putting Beaudie under a lot of pressure is great."
 

Barrett unselfishly let young Mo'unga take the game winning kick against South Africa. Source: 1 NEWS


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