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Image: Peter Flood

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WDC’s new rugby partnership helps tackle key threats to whales and dolphins

WDC is delighted to announce that we are an Official Charity Partner of the 2018 Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge University Rugby Clubs, to be held at Twickenham Stadium on December 6th.

The Varsity Match is one of the world’s longest running sporting fixtures and represents the pinnacle of amateur and student rugby where two of the most prestigious universities in the world compete for the Varsity title. Today the match is watched by more than 25,000 spectators and over 500,000 television viewers. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the women’s Varsity Match.

The Varsity Match has a rich heritage of schools attendance, with school children from across the country heading to Twickenham to watch the dark blues of Oxford take on the light blues of Cambridge in the men’s and women’s matches. WDC is working with the teams and some special World Cup winning guests to help raise awareness of two of the most important areas of our work: our global campaign to save New Zealand dolphins from extinction and the damaging issue of plastic pollution in the ocean. To inspire children and schools to get involved we have developed a range of educational resources and activities and an exciting competition, which gives the winners the chance to take to the field at Twickenham!

The New Zealand dolphin population is in serious trouble. Fishing nets kill 110 to 150 of them every year. Maybe even more. This death-rate is enough to wipe them out forever.

Taking inspiration from the rugby culture of New Zealand, schools are invited to create, film and send in their very own Haka, the ceremonial Maori dance made famous by the All Blacks rugby team, who perform the Haka at the start of every game. The five schools who perform the best Haka in the eyes of the panel of judges will win a free trip to The Varsity Match for up to 20 pupils and staff, where they will perform their “Save the New Zealand Dolphin” themed Haka in a live final at Twickenham stadium. The winners will then welcome the men’s teams back onto the pitch for the second half as the guard of honour!

If you are a teacher, coach or parent you can find out more about how your school can take part and book your tickets to the match here.