All Blacks Israel Dagg, Zac Guildford and Hika Elliot have a new goal in their sights - to publish children's books encouraging their youngest fans to read.
The rugby players wanted to put something back into the Hawke's Bay community.
So a group of mates, nicknamed Quackers Anonymous after Dagg's try-scoring celebration, have registered themselves as a company.
The group also includes Hurricanes player Richard Buckman and Hawke's Bay club players Conrad Rieter, Marcus Donovan, Aayden Clarke, Kelsey Miller, and Dane and Jarrod McCarthy. All 10 are listed as directors.
Clarke said they hoped to promote positive messages to children by publishing rugby-themed books.
They had contracted an author to write two draft books. Although the stories were based around rugby, they taught children about issues such as bullying and healthy eating.
"We don't see it as a money-making thing, we just wanted to be able to do something like that, use the guys' profile to get some good messages out there," Clarke said
The group established Quackers Anonymous last January, just months after Dagg hit headlines for his quirky hand gesture after scoring a try when the All Blacks played France in October 2011. The duck-like gesture was believed to have originated among the friends.
Dagg brushed off any hidden meaning about the "quacker" yesterday. "It's nothing really . . . just a few mates."
He confirmed the group were keen to publish children's books but other commitments had seen the project shelved for now. "It was something we started last year, but we haven't really moved on from it."
Elliot was in Hamilton training with the Chiefs, Buckman with the Hurricanes and Dagg with the Crusaders. Guildford withdrew from the Crusaders last week following an alcohol-related incident at a Christchurch party. He is expected to front up to a New Zealand Rugby Union misconduct hearing soon.
Clarke was positive the books would one day make it into local schools. "We're hoping we will get it up and running. It's all about teaching kids."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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