The chance to get a photo taken with the legendary Ranfurly Shield by purchasing tickets for tomorrow's clash with Southland at McLean Park proved irresistible for about 250 fans - giving the ticket sales register a great boost.

"It all went very well - we had a very good response," Hawke's Bay Rugby Union commercial manager Jay Campbell said.

The union made the shield available for all those who bought tickets before noon yesterday, and the promotion has pushed total ticket sales to just over 7000.

Mr Campbell said he would be disappointed, and surprised, if the park was not packed with about 12,000 spectators for the Magpies' final, crucial, shield challenge of the year.


At 4.30 there will be a police-dog demonstration and at 4.50pm the Rippa Rugby final between Nelson Park and Te Mata primary schools will get under way.

About 20 minutes before the 5.35pm kick-off, the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter will touch down in the centre of the playing field to deliver the shield.

"But we also have a couple of surprises lined up which we are keeping secret until the time," Mr Campbell said.


*9am - Ticket sales available from Hawke's Bay Rugby Union office
*1pm - Ticket sales available from Latham Street ticket Box
*2.50pm - Gate 1 and 4 open
*4pm - Gate 3 opens along with GA only ticket sales
*The rugby union is offering a School Holiday Family Special which seats two adults and up to four children for $32.50