Highlanders, Crusaders to meet in pre-season game in Wanaka

George Bridge gets away from Tei Walden during the Highlanders quarterfinal against the Crusaders...
George Bridge gets away from Tei Walden during the Highlanders quarterfinal against the Crusaders last week. Photo: Getty Images
The Highlanders will take on the Crusaders in Wanaka early next year.

The Farmlands Cup, contested by the Highlanders and the Crusaders, has twice been played in Waimumu, near Gore.

However, it will have a new home in Otago next year when the two South Island franchises head to the Queenstown-Lakes area for a pre-season game.

The match will be played on Friday, January 24, kicking off at 6pm.

The Highlanders played a pre-season game against the Waratahs in Alexandra this year and then played the Crusaders in Southbridge.

The franchise has also played warm-up games in Queenstown.

But this will be the first game in Wanaka between Super Rugby sides although the town hosted a Ranfurly Shield challenge earlier this season when Otago took on Thames Valley.

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark, who is looking forward to the day, is hoping for a crowd of 7000.

Wanaka's population increases greatly in summer so there should be plenty of people in the town in late January.

With the Super Rugby season kicking off at the end of January, the game will be of some importance for both sides as it will be the final hit-out before the competition starts.

The Crusaders play the Waratahs in Nelson on February 1 while the Highlanders have the bye in the first round.

The Highlanders' first competition game is against the Sharks in Dunedin on February 7.

The Highlanders' other pre-season game will be against the Waratahs on January 17.


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