The Super Rugby pre-season game between the Hurricanes and Crusaders at the Mangatainoka RFC is already a sell-out.
The pre-season opener, on Saturday February 11, will again be held on Neil 'Skin' Symonds's farm. The 8023 ticket holders will be in for a treat when two of Super Rugby's most passionate franchises go head to head.
Hurricanes commercial manager Sam Rossiter-Stead couldn't think of a better way for his team to start the season.
"This is a fantastic way to begin the 2012 Hurricanes season - our third full house at Mangatainoka," he said.
"With this year's tickets sold even faster than the two previous years. I know our players are thrilled at the prospect of returning to Mangatainoka and putting on a real show for the fans."
The wetter than normal summer has helped transform the farm's back paddock into a top-notch playing field.
"Compared to last year which was incredibly dry, I've only had to irrigate the field once due to the unusual wet weather we've had - in fact I've been mowing it every second day because the grass is so thick and dense," said Symonds.
"However this year's weather has meant the field is looking great - it's looking much better than last year."
As an extra bonus, All Black captain Richie McCaw will oversee the kick-off of the main game -= although he won't be playing as a result of his ongoing rehabilitation from the latest surgery to his injured foot.
Along with rugby greats Brian Lochore and Colin 'Pinetree' Meads, McCaw and the captains of both teams will speak to the 1300 corporate ticket holders after the game.
It is all about bringing the big show to the small town and showing the rest of the country that heartland rugby is alive, especially in Mangatainoka.
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