Nigel Ah Wong raises motor neurone disease awareness ahead of Mauritius 10s

Nigel Ah Wong is hoping to spend more time on the pitch for the Brumbies. Photo: Rohan Thomson Nigel Ah Wong’s aunt suffers from motor neuron disease. Photo: Jamila Toderas
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The AFL will launch its freeze motor neurone disease campaign this weekend, but ACT Brumbies flyer Nigel Ah Wong will use his own experience with the disease as the extra fire for the final stages of the Super Rugby season.

Ah Wong and the Brumbies will return to training on Friday to prepare for a 10s tournament in Mauritius to keep them ticking over during a month-long Super Rugby break.

Ah Wong recently spent time in New Zealand with family, including his aunt Sese, who was diagnosed with MND three years ago.

Seeing Sese reinforced why Ah Wong became a MND ambassador this year.

At the ‘Big Freeze 2’ on Monday, AFL media personalities will slide into a pool of icy water at the Collingwood-Melbourne clash at the MCG in a bid to raise awareness and millions of dollars for MND research.

It’s a cause close to Ah Wong’s heart, and Sese, the oldest of 17 siblings, will add extra motivation to his bid for more game time this year.

Sese is 63 and needs 24-hour care, uses an iPad to communicate and is fed through a tube.

“It’s awesome to see other athletes and sports getting involved to raise awareness and money for this cruel disease,” Ah Wong said.

“I just wanted to give people going through the same experience as [Sese] a voice and help them out.

“It was hard to see [Sese] this week with the way she was. But it was good to catch-up – I was chatting and she was tapping away on her iPad.

“She was happy that I popped over to visit and it was good to do that during the break, spend some time with them and then get back into rugby.”

The Brumbies were given two weeks off before returningto training on Friday and flying to Mauritius next week.

They will play French powerhouse club Toulon as part of the invitational tournament.

A third of the Brumbies squad is in camp with the Wallabies for a three-Test series against England.

But the rest of the players will be chasing game time in Mauritius to enhance their selection credentials for the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

Ah Wong will be fighting for a spot with wingers Joseph Tomane and Henry Speight likely to make comebacks from injury after the mid-year break.

Speight will be back if he doesn’t get picked in the Australian sevens squad while Tomane is on track to recover from a knee injury.   Was so nice to be able to spend the afternoon with my family in Hamilton especially my Aunty Sese who is the main reason why i wanted to get involved with MND Australia #aigaA photo posted by Nigel Lam-Ah Wong (@nigelahwong) on Jun 5, 2016 at 1:33am PDT

Ah Wong scored a double against the Japan Sunwolves at the end of May and has been banging down the door of coach Stephen Larkham to earn regular game time.

The 26-year-old will reportedly link with Japanese club Suntory at the end of the Super Rugby campaign to get more games under his belt in the Brumbies’ off-season.

“The tournament in Mauritius will be great, it gives you a chance to get some game fitness to get ready for the rest of the Super Rugby season,” Ah Wong said.

“We’ll be having a big crack against those teams like Toulon. We’ve got a lot of guys in the Wallabies but our squad prides itself on our depth. I want to test myself against the big teams, and every time you’re on the field it’s a chance to prove yourself.”

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