Highlanders caught in bizarre Bruno Mars hoax

Bruno Mars. Photo: Getty
Bruno Mars. Photo: Getty
Several Kiwi Super Rugby franchises were reportedly caught up in a bizarre hoax involving pop superstar Bruno Mars, prompting the Crusaders to lay a formal complaint with the police.

In the build-up to the Super Rugby Aotearoa final, which concluded last weekend with the Crusaders beating the Chiefs to claim their fifth straight title, three New Zealand teams reportedly received calls offering the services of Mars, a Grammy award-winning singer who has sold over 150 million records worldwide.

According to 1News, the Highlanders, the Crusaders and the Hurricanes were told that Mars was in New Zealand working on his new album and was keen to attend a game.

The Highlanders were interested and made plans for Mars to visit the team, while the Crusaders also received an offer for the singer to visit players at the final and even perform a surprise show at Orangetheory Stadium during the halftime show, which involved local act Drax Project.

"The plans were to fly Bruno in with a chopper, deliver the match ball and then join Drax Project for a bit of a jam during pre-match or half-time," Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge told 1News.

The Crusaders put the plan into motion, adding extra security to host Mars at the stadium's executive suite and hoping that the American artist would perform a surprise show to the sellout crowd at the final.

However, it all proved too good to be true after Mars' record label, Warner New Zealand, confirmed that he was not even in the country.

The woman who claimed to act on behalf of Mars was reportedly no longer contactable, and her phone number is now not active.

The Crusaders laid an official complaint with the police but were able to see the funny side of being caught up in the strange scam.

"I think it was so fantastic actually to come up with a story so crazy you almost had to believe there was an element of truth to it," Mansbridge said.

Despite not landing Mars for the Aotearoa final, the Crusaders have secured the services of Belgian drum and bass producer Netsky for their first game of Super Rugby Transtasman this weekend.

Netsky will play on Saturday night in a special pre-match show at Orangetheory Stadium ahead of kickoff against the Brumbies at 7.05pm.

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