It takes a special event to get former New Zealand All Black Rico Gear to lace up the boots during retirement. On this occasion, Rico lined up for the New Zealand Barbarian Legends in an exhibition game against the Pacific Legends in a curtain-raiser for the All Blacks and Tonga match in Hamilton on 7 September.
For Rico, this wasn’t just an excuse to relive past glory with his mates, it was a chance to contribute to a good cause. The inspiration behind the event was to raise awareness for obesity and diabetes, particularly in the Pacific and Maori population.
“It’s quite easy to stay in your own little bubble and not see what’s really going on out there,” Rico says. “It was a nice feeling for us to be involved and to help raise some awareness that these issues are actually out there.”
Rico jumped at the chance to support an initiative that aligns perfectly with the values of Isagenix®. While the former Rugby Union international always remains consistent with his training, he certainly had more purpose in the gym for two months leading into the match.
“I can tell you right now that I wouldn’t be playing if I wasn’t using the Isagenix products,” says Rico. “It’s a big reason why I played because I know I’ve got the products to help me get through, which made a huge difference.”
Some might argue that Isagenix was the reason Rico was able to muscle his way past two defenders to score a try on the stroke of halftime. “I was pretty happy about crossing the line, I was pretty puffed out after scoring. Luckily, we went straight into halftime because I needed the rest!”
His try helped inspire a tremendous comeback by the New Zealand Barbarian Legends who turned around a 13-point deficit into a thrilling two-point win. While he doesn’t miss feeling battered and bruised after a game, this certainly wasn’t the last we’ll see Rico take the field.
“I’m playing in a seven’s tournament this weekend in Byron Bay for an Australian All-Stars team with a few former Wallabies and Rugby League internationals,” he says. “There are plans to do more stuff around that cause as well, and I’ll certainly look to try and do more work in that space.”