29 May 2015
Gore to host Highlanders v Crusaders game
Southern Field Days has scored a major coup, today announcing the Highlanders will play a pre-season match against the Crusaders as part of next year’s field days.
In what will be a return to grass roots rugby for the successful franchise, the Highlanders, Farmlands and Southern Fields Days have teamed up to put on the game in a paddock opposite the field days’ Waimumu site, near Gore.
The field will be known as Fred Booth Park, in honour of the property owner who is a Farmlands shareholder. Fred was presented with a Highlanders shirt and ball at today's announcement.
The game will be played on 11 February next year, adding another attraction at an event that already draws in around 38,500 people to the Gore District over three days.
Southern Field Days chairman Logan Evans said that when his committee was first approached with the concept of a rugby match, the initial response was it might be more than it could handle.
“But the Southern Field Days can-do attitude kicked in, plans were sorted and a rugby field has now appeared out of Fred’s paddock. We welcome the Highlanders to the Southern Field Days site,” he said.
The two teams will play for the Farmlands Cup in a match that is expected to become a regular fixture at the field days.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said it will be fantastic to welcome the Highlanders to the field days site.
“It’s something we certainly wouldn’t have foreseen in the early days of the event. This is a terrific initiative and it’s great to see the field days growing all the time.”
Highlanders commercial manager Mike Kerr said this was not a one off event.
“We are certainly in this for the long haul, we see it as a good fit with our fans and commercial partners and also something a little different for the Highlanders.”
The team behind the Highlanders prides itself on innovation.
“We see this as an exciting initiative that will help us connect further with our rural fan base,” Mike said.
“We have to acknowledge the great people at both the Southern Field Days and Farmlands, as without their commitment and passion to create a unique rural event this game would not be possible.”
Farmlands Chief Executive Officer, Tony van der Hoorn, says that Farmlands was delighted to support the return of professional rugby to its grass roots.
“To have the Highlanders compete on a shareholder’s paddock is fantastic and this will be a great event for the rural community.”