Just weeks after it was announced that Tui Brewery would bring the big game to the small town for the third year in a row, Tui Brewery commercial manager Nick Rogers said 3900 of the 8000 tickets have already been snapped up by rugby fans from across the country. Mr Rogers said ticket sales are tracking well ahead of this year's sell-out event.
"This year we have seen a vast increase in group bookings from outside of the district - especially Wellington and Christchurch. Thus it will be great to see many people coming into our area," he said.
The Hurricanes will meet the Crusaders in a pre-season game on Saturday, February 11, and like the previous two games held at the Mangatainoka RFC, next to Tui Brewery, February's game is expected to go down in grassroots rugby folklore.
It will be played on Neil Symonds' farm, which is currently a bare paddock, and will see the community rally together to host a predicted 8000 visitors. There will be enough temporary seating to accommodate all ticket-holders, pre- and post-game entertainment as well as an array of guest speakers.
Hurricanes commercial manager Sam Rossiter-Stead said the game will be a great way for the new-look side to start their new season.
"It's a fantastic way to kick off our 2012 Hurricanes season and like previous years we're thrilled with the level of support we've received for this fixture. I know how much the players are looking forward to the game and they will be very keen to put on a real show in front of what will hopefully be our third full house for a pre-season match at Mangatainoka."
Tui is offering transport deals to and from the game with Tranzit Coaches and Nimons HB.
The Feb 11 match
12.30pm: Gates Open
1pm: Tui Invitation XV vs Mangatainoka RFC Invitation XV
3pm: Hurricanes vs Crusaders
5.45pm: After-match speeches and VIP entertainment
6.45pm: Mangatainoka tent village closes for VIPs
Tickets are available from Tui HQ, PGG Wrightson stores in the lower North Island, the Palmerston North i-SITE or via www.tui.co.nz
Price: Corporate tickets $125, General admission $45
Transport: Tranzit and Nimons HB are providing buses from Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Wanganui. www.tranzit.co.nz or www.nimons.co.nz Almost half the tickets have sold for next February's pre-season Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and the Crusaders at Mangatainoka.