All way from US to Mangatainoka

By katie Farman


Husband and wife Brad and Jessica Hammond made the long journey from Minneapolis in the United States to Mangatainoka for Saturday's pre-season Super 15 match between the Hurricanes and Chiefs.

They were at the match as part of their short visit to New Zealand after reading about the pre-season game on an online search.

Brad, who used to play wing and full back for the University of Minnesota and is now the treasurer of the university's Rugby Alumni Group, says he has always been interested in watching a grassroots rugby game in New Zealand.

"We were always going to come out during the Rugby World Cup 2011, but decided to put it off until a bit later," he said.

"I grew up playing rugby at college but really wanted to see how the New Zealanders play the game."

The couple, who began their journey Down Under in Auckland and have enjoyed visits to Piha and the Bay of Plenty, thoroughly enjoyed their experience at Mangatainoka.

After doing a tour of Tui Brewery, which was bringing the big game to the small town for the fourth year in a row, they were treated to a site visit of the temporary stadium built in the middle of a paddock on Neil Symonds' farm.

"Today has been great. Tui Brewery was awesome and the hospitality of everyone has been amazing, it reminded us of home," said Brad, who works in commodity trading in the US.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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