Rural theme to pre-season

The Highlanders are heading back to eastern Southland for some rural action and will also visit Queenstown in their pre-season.

The side will once again take on the Crusaders in a pre-season game to tie in with the Southern rural field days at Waimumu, just outside Gore.

In February last year, the two sides played each other at the newly named Fred Booth Park, which was a paddock owned by Southland farmer Fred Booth.

Booth had converted a paddock into a top line rugby surface and the game ended up in a draw, 19-19. A big crowd of more than 10,000 attended

The sides then played at Darfield in central Canterbury to continue the rural theme at the start of this season - a game won by the Crusaders.

The game in Waimumu will be the last warm-up games for both sides before the start of next year's new Super Rugby competition. It is scheduled for February 15.

The game in Queenstown will be against the Waratahs and will take place on February 2, a Friday, with kick-off at 6pm.

The match will be played at the Queenstown Recreation Ground, in the middle of the resort.

The two sides played in Queenstown a couple of years ago and have played against each other in pre-season for the past few years.

They met in Sydney in February this year where the Highlanders were victorious.

The two pre-season are either side of the tens competition to be played in Brisbane on February 9-10.

The draw for the Super Rugby competition was released last month and the Highlanders have indicated in their ticket offer to members that seven of their home games were scheduled to be played under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark could not be contacted yesterday.

The stadium will host the first three games played by the Highlanders.

The side kicks off with a game against the Blues on February 23, a Friday night.

A bye is scheduled immediately after the opening game for the Highlanders, but they will then play the Stormers and the Crusaders in the weeks after that, both games under the roof.

Their second bye is in early April and four of their first six games will be played at the stadium.

The match to be played in Invercargill appears to be the match against the Chiefs on June 30.

Invercargill has had one game a year for the past three years and last season it played host to the Sunwolves. In the previous two years it has hosted the Brumbies (2016) and the Chiefs (2015).

The Highlanders have won all three games played in Invercargill over the three years.

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