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Press Release

United States Rugby Foundation
Awards two Grants to New Zealand Rugby Academy

San Diego, CA (May 23, 2005) - The United States Rugby Foundation is proud to announce that Saia Vainuku and Conrad Bontrager have been awarded Foundation grants to attend the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand.

Both young players competed at the National High School Championships at Stanford University on May 20-21. Vainuku, a brilliant playmaker at #10, plays for High School champion Highland, while Bontrager is an impressive #8 from Penn High School in Indiana.

"We are pleased that we can assist two of our up and coming players with this once in a lifetime experience," said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. "It will provide them with a great opportunity to improve their rugby, as they will be learning from some of the best minds in the rugby world."

Both recipients will spend a week at the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand (IRANZ) which features some of the world's elite coaches and players.

"The objective of the International Rugby Academy Students' course is to prepare a player for a pathway towards a career in professional rugby," noted IRANZ Director and former New Zealand All Black great Murray Mexted.

"We have a saying down here that there's no point in running if you're on the wrong road. These young men will certainly return to the USA with a clear vision of what they have to do to and how they have to do it to become high performers in rugby union. It will not only be a valuable rugby experience, but an experience in life skills, as they will be part of a group of players from all corners of the rugby world."

The grant also includes international travel from the United States to New Zealand courtesy of Air New Zealand, and travel within the US through TravelCorp.

The USRF is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization established in 1963. Although its main focus is supporting youth and high school rugby, the Foundation also provides grants to coaches and referees; establishes international student exchanges and college scholarships, has assisted the United States Collegiate All-Americans and Boys Under-19 teams, and also provides grants to Safety and Risk Management Research.

For more information about the United States Rugby Foundation, visit