As the clock that is built into the hillside overlooking the Central Otago town of Alexandra strikes 6pm on Friday 1 February next year the first ever fully professional super rugby game will kick-off between the Highlanders and the Waratahs.
The idea for staging the preseason match in Alexandra has been made possible by the support of the match day sponsor Breen Construction. Breen Construction Managing Director Lindsay Breen said “It’s easy for us to get fired up about the Highlanders playing rugby on Molyneux park. We like our sport and we love Molyneux Park. It’s great to see the park getting events like this that show it off as a first-class venue. We also love supporting the communities that we work in and what better way then bringing a fixture like this to our home town. Thanks to the Highlanders for the opportunity to be involved”.
Alexandra is a well-known holiday destination over the summer months and with the game being played so early in February a good crowd is anticipated. The Central Otago District Council is fully supportive of the event. Mayor Tim Cadogan said “we are working hard to showcase Central Otago as a place that is capable of hosting large-scale international and national events. The tri-nations hockey held in Cromwell earlier this year achieved outstanding local support as do the annual international curling competitions through the Audi Winter Games in Naseby. When top sports teams come to our part of the world we can always be confident that there will be a strong turnout of enthusiastic fans and I am sure the rugby will be no exception” he said.
“We owe a special thanks to the Highlanders’ management who have bought into the idea and to local business Breen Construction who have been generous enough to come forward as match day sponsors. With the ‘Run the Vines’ event and the ‘Central Otago Craft Beer Festival’ happening at the same time as having the rugby here, we’ve literally got a match made in heaven” Mayor Tim said.
The Highlanders have successfully staged preseason fixtures in Queenstown in recent seasons and are delighted to be able to share the hosting rights around the region. “The Alexandra community and Breen construction in particular have been vital in making this game a reality. The venue itself ,Molyneux Park, has undertaken a fair bit of refurbishment recently and is a natural amphitheatre, we believe the town and venue will showcase the event extremely well, particularly at that time of year” said Highlanders CEO Roger Clark.
Tickets for the event will go on sale early next year.