Charge for rugby match

The Highlanders pre-season match in Queenstown next Friday will come at a cost to spectators, unlike last year's free-entry match.

The Blues and Highlanders will play on the Recreation Ground again this year, as the Queenstown Events Centre in Frankton prepares to host the English cricket team at the end of the month.

Although last year's pre-season Highlanders match against Super 15 winners the Chiefs was free for spectators the pre-season match this year will cost adults $20, both pre-sale and at the gate.

Highlanders communications manager Doug McSweeney said the admission charge was to cover the cost of flying the Blues side from Auckland and covering both teams' accommodation costs.

The match would be free for children.

About 200 tickets have been sold so far and Mr McSweeney expects most tickets will be sold at the gate, given Queenstown's relaxed nature for events, and reach a near capacity crowd of 5000.

Lakes Leisure events and venues manager JD Marrable said tickets were free last year because of the late notice and impromptu nature of the match.

He said next Friday's match had more associated costs, most of which would come from the Blues' performance-related fees.