The Crusaders are invading, so the message to Highlanders
fans is to get out and ''repel'' them.
A small army is gathering north of the Waitaki River for a
foray into Highlander country on Saturday and those in the
South are being urged to take up arms - all in good spirits,
Games come and go in the six-month-long Super 15, but
Saturday's match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders on
Saturday night shapes as something special.
It is hoped a crowd of about 18,500 will attend the game at
Forsyth Barr Stadium. By last night 15,000 tickets had been
The Highlanders are fifth on the competition ladder, with the
Crusaders right behind them.
Highlanders general manager Roger Clark said sales had been
strong in places such as Queenstown, Oamaru and Invercargill,
and 3500 tickets had been sold in Christchurch.
''So we know those Crusaders supporters are going to come
down and make themselves heard,'' Clark said.
''We need a whole lot of our fans making a lot of noise,
waving blue and gold, to counteract that.
''We have been well supported right through this season and
the guys appreciate that support.
''I know the guys really enjoy playing in front of a really
loud and boisterous home crowd.''
The game kicks off at 5.35pm and Mr Clark said the
earlier-than-normal start helped attract supporters from
outside Dunedin, as well as families.
Mr Clark said the big crowd was the cream which would help
the Highlanders' bottom line.
The franchise gained income only through sponsorship and gate
income, so a big crowd was a welcome financial boost for the
franchise, he said.
The Highlanders have released an additional 1000 ''take a kid
to the footy'' tickets for the game.