International games for anniversary

The University club's women's rugby programme facilitator Terry Kerr, University of Otago Vice...
The University club's women's rugby programme facilitator Terry Kerr, University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne and University club chairman Paul Hessian prepare to welcome both the New Zealand and Kansai Universities rugby teams. PHOTO: SHARRON BENNETT
A big week of rugby is approaching as part of the University of Otago's 150th celebrations.

The New Zealand and Kansai Universities teams will both play at the University Oval during the first week of April.

The Kansai team, from Japan, arrives in Dunedin on March 30.

It will play Otago University on April 2 and New Zealand Universities on April 6.

The second match will be the second time the national universities side has played a Japan-based team in Dunedin, the first being in 1968.

It is the first time New Zealand Universities has played in the city since 1992.

Several players from the Otago University club are expected to be in the 23-man New Zealand side named later this month.

Otago University club chairman Paul Hessian said it was delighted to be hosting the teams as part of the celebrations.

"Rugby has been an important outlet for many students during their time in Dunedin.

"The club has been a strong contributor to New Zealand Universities teams over our own history.

"We are indebted to New Zealand Universities Rugby Council for their support in getting the teams to Dunedin.

"Our women's team will be involved in a local competition game as a curtain raiser to the New Zealand Universities and Kansai game on the Saturday."

University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne had similar sentiments.

She remarked rugby had been significant in the history of the university.

"We are delighted Kansai and New Zealand Universities are coming to Dunedin for this special visit during our 150th anniversary year.

"Rugby has always held an important place at the heart of Otago, and this visit is a fitting celebration of that history, and the links New Zealand Universities has with Japan.

"We hope rugby fans and former players will come from near and far to watch the games and share in the celebrations."

A formal dinner will be held after the match on April 6.

Among the distinguished guest speakers and alumni attending will be former University A player and All Black captain David Kirk.

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