Crusaders player Colin Slade signs autographs for fans at Sportspark Motueka on Friday night. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Big crowd turns out for Crusaders

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They came, they saw, they got drenched. But judging from the smiles of the 5500 fans at Sportspark Motueka on Friday night, they were also thrilled.

The Crusaders beat the Highlanders 28-15 in a pre-season Super 15 game in Motukea and a big crowd braved the rain to watch some of the world’s best players in action. Organiser Shane Drummond says the poor weather kept thousands away but strong pre-sales saved them.

“The walk up crowd was minimal, whereas the other games in Motueka have been massive. We were very lucky we had so many tickets pre-sold. The marketing succeeded in selling as many tickets as we did. The promotion worked and it was the saviour.”

Crusaders captain and Nelson-born All Black Ryan Crotty says the support from the crowd in the rain was impressive. “The crowd have been awesome and we’ve had a great time up here.”