Tasman Rugby Union CEO Tony Lewis and organiser of the Crusaders pre-season game, Shane Drummond. Photo: Andrew Board.

Crusaders game just the ticket


The most successful Super rugby team in history is coming to town and it may be the start of more to come.

The Crusaders are in talks with the Tasman Rugby Union to bring two of its Super Rugby games to Nelson in 2015. But first, organisers are hoping for a sell-out at Sportspark Motueka on Friday, February 7 when the Crusaders host their southern rivals, the Highlanders.

Tickets are now on sale for the biggest rugby game to hit the region this summer as both teams will bring their entire squad to the region – including close to 20 All Blacks.

Tickets went on sale yesterday but the game is expected to be a sell-out and tickets to the covered stand are already close to sold.

Tasman Rugby Union CEO Tony Lewis says the game is a great opportunity for the region to show its support for the game and encourage the Crusaders to bring more games here in 2015. “It’s absolutely crucial we get a huge crowd. They have two games that they have to take away from Christchurch because of the under 20 football world cup and we don’t want them to even consider anyone else.”

The game is the only pre-season match the Crusaders will play in the South Island in 2014 and will feature up to five local players, including Tasman Makos captain Shane Christie.

One of the men who helped bring the game to the region, Shane Drummond, says he’s looking forward to a huge day. “This is the third pre season game we’ve got to Mot and at the first one we had 10,000 people. Because Waitangi Day is the day before we’re hoping it will encourage people from out of town to take the day off in between and make a long weekend of it. But the 5.30pm kick off means locals can still work and come to the game.”

The other main organiser, George Sturgeon, is currently finding a sponsor to bring the Crusaders’ horses with them.

Tickets are selling for as little as $15 and are available from Nelson School of Music, Theatre Royal, Nelson i-Site, New World Nelson, Richmond Mall, Hampden Hotel Murchison or online at www.makos.co.nz or phone TicketDirect on 0800 224 224. Shane says they would make a great Christmas gift.