Richie and Kevin wood sawing Richie and Kevin wood sawing CREDIT: MasterCard
Tokoroa's local axeman Tokoroa's local axeman CREDIT: MasterCard
Locals wood sawing Locals wood sawing CREDIT: MasterCard
Richie in try scoring mode Richie in try scoring mode CREDIT: MasterCard

All Blacks no match for Tokoroa

Saturday 3 July 2010, 11:01AM
By MasterCard


The All Blacks were looking to stay on their winning streak after beating the Welsh at Waikato Stadium when they took on the residents of Tokoroa last Sunday as part of the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow.

Now in its third year, the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow hosts a series of community events where local fans can get up close and personal with some of the current All Blacks and rugby legend, Buck Shelford, by competing in rugby challenges including; catching, try-scoring, kicking, passing and lineout skills.

But it wasn't just their rugby skills that were put to the test, with the locals challenging the All Blacks to some unique activities their towns are known for - in this case, wood sawing - with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and team-mates Keven Mealamu and Ben Franks on hand to take on the Tokoroa locals.

Mealamu, who was born in Tokoroa and played junior rugby there, was especially excited to head to Tokoroa.

"With lots of friends and family in Tokoroa, I didn't know which side to cheer for. It was really great to be back in my birth place, and I'm so proud we could bring the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow to them."

Leading the Tokoroa-ites into battle was 2008 Timbersports Series Champion and 3rd generation axeman, David Bolstad.

In a best-of-three competition, David and his sawing partner Charlie Hall came out on top against the All Blacks 2:1.

Given a 10-second start, the All Blacks won the first round and lost the second, where they had a seven-second start, before the locals took out the final challenge.

All Black legend, Buck Shelford, was excited to visit Tokoroa and thought the locals really lifted the game.

"The Tokoroa Axeman's club really put us to the test on the community challenge. They breed them tough in these parts."

Public pair winners Carl McDonald and Lee Fitzpatrick, who completed the challenge in 17.94 seconds, also went up against the All Blacks and won by a whisker against McCaw and fellow legendary openside flanker Josh Kronfeld.

The Tokoroa Axeman's club set up four wood sawing stands for the event and brought down some amazing pieces of machinery they use at their super sports events, including a chainsaw hooked up to a V8 engine.

While Richie was a bit disappointed he didn't get a go on the V8 chainsaw, Buck was more than happy to try it out with some of the locals, saying it was one of his highlights.

With a strong turnout at the event, the locals were also pretty excited to see the All Blacks and the winter weather was not enough to stop them queuing for autographs.

And while the locals had fun taking on the All Blacks at the challenges, MasterCard cardholders were given the opportunity to compete in the 'Priceless promotion' where their All Blacks knowledge was put to the test to win tickets to the All Blacks versus South Africa Investec Tri Nations test in Auckland in early July.

The next stop on the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow is Waipu on July 11th. Check out for more information.