Hawke's Bay businessman Kevin Atkins has been praised for his work in convincing the Crusaders Super 15 rugby franchise to play their first home game of the 2012 season at McLean Park in Napier.
The Crusaders will host the Chiefs in the Bay on March 9 after Mr Atkinson, the managing director of IMS Payroll, successfully put the proposal to the Crusaders board.
Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said the plan for 2012 was to have all home games played within the franchise's catchment area. But they were waiting for a suitable stadium to be completed in Christchurch and were forced to look elsewhere to play their first home match of the season.
Mr Riach said Mr Atkinson's passion for another Super rugby game in Hawke's Bay was "just too compelling".
IMS came on board last year to bring the Crusaders to McLean Park and the success of the match provided the incentive for a 2012 fixture.
IMS will be the official match sponsor of the Crusaders-Chiefs game this year and will also become one of the Crusaders partners for 2012.