Lawyer pays $45,000 for balls
Lawyer David Hall-Jones, 44, probably wishes he had got his old college mate David Kirk to sign a few personal items before graduation. It would've been cheaper for Hall-Jones, who paid $45,000 during the Long Lunch for two signed Rugby balls - one with Kirk's signature on it.
Hall-Jones outbid several competitors for the balls. On one were the signatures of the winning captains of the five Rugby World Cups and the other was signed by the winning captains of the four Rugby World Cup Sevens.
'I knew [Kirk], the captain of the All Black side in the 1987 World Cup,' said Hall-Jones. 'We went to the University of Otago together. I'm no longer in contact with him, but I still keep in touch with some old classmates from college,' he said.
Hall-Jones said he grew up following rugby. 'I have two young boys here in Hong Kong and I'm going to show it to them to teach them the history of the game. Then, if there's a right charity out there I'll consider donating the balls to them to raise more money,' he said.
His favourite rugby memory, however, involved not Kirk, but the Long Lunch's guest speaker Bill Beaumont. 'I watched Bill's Lions team play against Southland in 1977, and I especially remember his team's flyhalf, Phil Bennett, going up against Southland's Steven Pokere. It was just amazing.'
The two balls were one of the afternoon's two auction items, raising money for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Charitable Trust.
The other item being auctioned - an all-expenses paid trip to the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards - went for $110,000 to a bidder who preferred to remain anonymous.