Two All Blacks, one cherished Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship Trophy toured Hawke's Bay yesterday as excitement continues to build for the region's first test in 18 years.
All Blacks and Magpies fullback Israel Dagg and All Blacks lock Luke Romano visited Hastings High School, Taradale Primary School and the Hawke's Bay Today newsroom as part of the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union's "Pack the Park" campaign.
New Zealand will play Argentina at McLean Park in Napier on September 6, as the city hosts its first All Blacks test since they beat Samoa in 1996.
Dagg, an old boy of Lindisfarne College and Hastings Intermediate, said it was a thrill to return to his home province where he learnt his craft before becoming a star for the Crusaders and earning 39 test caps for the All Blacks.
He said his teammates were anxious ahead of last weekend's Bledisloe Cup triumph at Eden Park but were looking forward to taking on the Pumas.
"Steve Hansen was pretty angry on Monday after the draw against the Wallabies, and he said if the boys didn't play well he would give them a tracksuit like me."
Fellow Crusader Romano is still six to seven weeks away from returning to rugby after nine screws and a plate were inserted to heal the ankle he broke during a Super Rugby match against the Reds.
He said his rehab was on schedule for a bid to make the All Blacks' end of year Northern Hemisphere tour, which begins against the United States at the historic Soldier Field in Chicago on November 1.
Extra seating has been added to McLean Park to lift the ground's capacity from about 15,500 to 22,000.
The HBRU said about 1600 tickets were left for the match.

Buy tickets
Tickets can be bought at or 0800 224224 or in person at HB Rugby Union Office, McLean Park.
Hawke's Bay Today is getting behind the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union's campaign to Pack the Park to encourage people to attend the All Blacks vs Argentina test at McLean Park on September 6