The New Zealand Parliamentary rugby team will play the Mangatainoka Barbarians RFC team in the curtain raiser for next month's Super Rugby pre-season game between the Hurricanes and the Blues in Mangatainoka.
Mark Mitchell, co-captain of the Parliamentary team, is looking forward to the game and helping raise money for local charity, Riding for the Disabled – Tararua Division.
"I can't promise the game will rise to the standards of the match to follow but it'll be a willing contest played by a group of men whose best days are behind them, but who'll give it a go for a good cause," he said.
"Riding for the Disabled is a charity we're really pleased to give our support and we encourage the public to get behind it as well."
The other Parliamentary team co-captain, Damien O'Connor, is equally excited about playing rugby at Mangatainoka on Saturday, February 9.
"As we've seen in previous years, the Battle at the Brewery is a great day in regional New Zealand as we warm into the Super Rugby season and get to see some of rugby's biggest stars get back to some grassroots footy," he said.
"We're thrilled at the opportunity to play the curtain raiser and, as Mark says, to support a good cause. With a crowd of 5000 expected, and the local community in full swing behind it, I'm sure it's going to be a great event."
As well as Mitchell and O'Connor the Parliamentary team will include Ministers Kris Faafoi, Stuart Nash and Penni Henare as well as MPs Kieran McAnulty, Clayton Mitchell, Paul Goldsmith, Alfred Ngaro, Paul Eagle, Greg O'Connor and Hamish Walker.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be there giving his support along with Speaker Trevor Mallard and National's Gerry Brownlee.
"While we're used to being on opposite sides of the house and getting stuck into each other, New Zealand's MPs tend to get along reasonably well and the Parliamentary rugby team is a great opportunity to play alongside each other for a good cause," Mitchell said.
Mangatainoka Barbarians RFC team manager Hamish Clentworth is equally excited about the curtain raiser and having the opportunity to play the Parliamentary rugby team for the first time. His team will feature a line-up of former provincial, national and overseas players.
Tickets for Battle at the Brewery are on sale but numbers are limited to ensure an intimate atmosphere at the game.
Ticket holders are encouraged to turn out in their regional colours and, in addition to two great games of rugby, will also enjoy pre and post-game entertainment.
There will also be prizes up for grabs for fans who go above and beyond with their fancy dress.
All tickets are available to purchase from www.tuihq.co.nz or at the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. GA tickets are also available from local PGG Wrightson and Norwood Stores.