Grab a drink, grab a hotdog and get into some "real deal" rugby - that's the advice rugby officials and local identities are giving Magpies fans.

The black-and-whites take on the Northland Taniwha in the ITM Cup championship semifinal at McLean Park tomorrow night.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union commercial manager Jay Campbell said tickets to the game, which could be the last chance to see the Magpies play at Napier's McLean Park this year, went on sale yesterday and within hours more than 1250 were sold.

He predicts up to 10,000 people will attend the match.


Napier Mayor Bill Dalton will be going with his family and wants Magpies fans to support the boys.

"It's going to be a fantastic night. I really urge the people of Napier to pack the park - I think it's got the makings of a great game of rugby."

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule will also attend with mates, saying the game is the culmination of a great season: "This has been one of the most successful seasons we've ever had. The amount of time we've held the Ranfurly Shield and to have an All Black test in the Bay, too - it's fantastic. To get to the final would be spectacular."

Mr Campbell expected a rush on ticket sales for tomorrow, with prices slashed by 50 per cent. The union hopes to attract the crowd straight from work tomorrow, opening the gates at 5.30pm for the curtainraiser.

The union has fielded 10 representative squads this year and will pit the youngest of them against each other in the special feature between the Hawke's Bay Ross Shield Primary Schools team and the Hawke's Bay Under-13 team.

Mr Campbell said other entertainment would include a band and children could have their faces decorated for free by skilled face-painters.

The MetService predicts the weather will be perfect for the 7.35pm kick-off, a balmy 22C high expected.

Mr Campbell said it was the perfect setting for a great night: "We are opening the gates at 5.30pm so heaps of people can come through from work," he said. "So come in, grab a beer, get into the park, get a hotdog and start watching the curtainraiser, then get into the real deal at 7.35pm."


A couple of corporate boxes were still available if companies or fans wanted to treat themselves, Mr Campbell said.

High ticket sales this season have contributed to the union's cash reserves, which could hit $1 million for the first time as a result of a bumper Ranfurly Shield season, the All Blacks' test against Argentina and the semifinal match.

Get your tickets

Prices have been halved to $17.50, with $12.50 and $7.50 tickets also available in the TicketDirect stand. Tickets can be bought from Hawke's Bay Rugby Union at McLean Park, Latham St, Napier; or by calling 0800 224 224.