Rugby League World Cup 2021 has signed up Robbie Hunter-Paul as the tournament’s official mental fitness ambassador.
Hunter-Paul, 44, earned 33 caps for New Zealand during his playing career, playing in the 2000 World Cup final at Old Trafford.
His role will involve raising awareness of the mental fitness charter and supporting the delivery of the ‘Ahead of the Game’ programme, which is focused on improving youth mental fitness through community sport.
He said: “What an incredible honour it is to be asked to be ambassador for such an important role for the RLWC2021.”
“This role is so important to me for the soul reason that Rugby League communities have some of the worst statistics and suicide rates in the nation, much higher than national averages and as a ‘family’ we all have the responsibility to reverse this trend.”
“I have Rugby League Cares to thank as their support has provided me with in person training in both mental fitness first aid and suicide prevention.”
“We are currently living through one of the most challenging periods the planets ever seen, so it’s never been more important to take care of ourselves and those around us.”
Hunter-Paul is a familiar face to both Movember and Rugby League Cares and will bring a wealth of knowledge from the existing work he has undertaken throughout his career in Rugby League. Hunter- Paul has worked closely with Rugby League Cares specifically on a number of impactful mental fitness programmes including the Offload Programme, Back Onside, All Onside.
RLWC2021 CEO Jon Dutton, said: “Today is World Mental Health Day and the theme for this year’s campaign is ‘mental health for all’ and I can’t think of anyone better to champion our mental fitness charter and take the brilliant work of our partners Movember and Rugby League Cares to the masses than Robbie Hunter-Paul.
“Robbie is an outstanding professional who was at the pinnacle of the sport for many years. To be able to bring that experience and knowledge into the organisation as an ambassador is truly unique and we are delighted to have him on board.”