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Enterprising city lads lead support for ABs with handbands

When the Rugby World Cup kicks off next Monday, Timaru will be leading the nation supporting the boys in black with black bands.

New Zealand Rugby Football Union are "incredibly impressed" with five Timaru Boys High School year 13 students' enterprising scheme to sell black wrist bands in support of the All Blacks, which will go on sale on Friday.

They have the exclusive licence with the NZRFU to market and sell the bands and have negotiated deals with major distributors throughout New Zealand. The concept was developed as part of the school's Young Enterprise Scheme.

Trading under the name StudiCom Solutions Phillip Watson, Thomas Mitchell, Sam Naylor, Nic Dobbs and Ben Smart said a preliminary order of 50,000 had been made, and of those 35,000 had then been ordered by Shell, Rebel Sport, Whitcoulls and The Warehouse.

While a price can't be put on national pride, the boys are likely to walk away with enough money in their back pocket to fund their first year at university next year.

"We have ordered 50,000 in the meantime but expect these companies to come back with more orders," member Ben Grant said.

"The bands were called black attack but Adidas have got on board and they have become part of their black standard campaign." NZRFU commercial manager Fraser Holland said the concept was great and would work well. "Their timing is impeccable and since the first approach from the boys we have been incredibly impressed with the professional way they have handled themselves.

"We get at least ten different propositions a week and from the start this one (the black bands) has been a very viable option."

He believed fan support should mean the first order of 50,000 would sell. "The fan support is there and the initial distribution set up is good."
The bands will be sold for $3 each and the orders they already have, have given them enough to pay for the 50,000 ordered.

Samples of the bands were made up earlier in the year from the money they made on their first Young Enterprise project when they sold student ID cards.

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