- Tonga have just arrived in England for the 2015 Rugby World Cup
- Former World Cup winner Phil Vickery owns clothes company Raging Bull
- He has decked Tonga out in new off-field clothes ahead of the tournament
- He says rugby fans should back the smaller nations at the World Cup
With the 2015 Rugby World Cup fast approaching, there is a lot of focus on how each team will fare when the tournament kicks off.
Behind the scenes though, there is much more preparation going on than meets the eye. It is not just on-field matters that have to be addressed - but off-field as well.
Tonga are a nation with a much smaller sport budget than countries like England, and former Red Rose World Cup winner Phil Vickery MBE has used his Raging Bull clothing business to help the minnows out.
The Tongan national rugby team have just arrived in England ahead of their first World Cup match against Georgia on September 19, and were greeted by Vickery, who has decked them out with shirts, sweaters and chinos to wear while attending the tournament.
Vickery says he is glad to help the country out, and wants the public to get behind the smaller rugby-playing nations.
‘Teams like Tonga bring a huge amount to any World Cup,’ he said. ‘They are passionate about rugby and hugely competitive for the size of their country.
‘We at Raging Bull are providing them with their off-field outfits to help the guys feel and look the part of a professional team but long term they need more financial support to compete on a level playing field with the bigger nations.
‘You only have to look at the skill and power of the Pacific Nations teams such as Tonga, Samoa and Fiji to see the talent is there in bucketloads. I know it has been said before but it is true that our sport could be truly global if we back some of these nations properly.’
Tonga’s High Performance Manager Peter Harding was delighted to receive support from Raging Bull. ‘It is great for the guys,’ he said. ‘As they are way behind most countries in what they earn playing rugby so feels good for them to be looked after in this way.
‘For their outfit we have gone for a pink gingham check shirt with navy wool and cashmere sweater and smart chinos and the good thing is Raging Bull go up to 6XL.’
Tonga High Performance Manager Peter Harding was delighted to receive support from Raging Bull