The Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team will host Wellington at Napier's McLean Park for the first time in three seasons next year.
"We're pretty happy to get a home game against our Hurricanes big brothers ... it's a game which is always followed with a lot of interest . It will be good to compare us with them and it's good to get them back at McLean Park," Magpies head coach Mark Ozich said today.
Ozich was commenting on the Mitre 10 Cup crossover matches draw which was published yesterday.
The Magpies, beaten semifinalists in this season's Championship, will host Wellington and Tasman and play this season's Championship winners Waikato and Counties-Manukau away in their four matches against Premiership opponents.
"We're pretty happy with those matches too. We've missed Auckland and Canterbury which is a bonus," Ozich added referring to the two teams that played in this season's Premiership final won by Auckland.
When the Magpies played Wellington at Napier's McLean Park in 2016 the Lions won 36-26. That was a crossover clash and the Magpies were a Premiership team that season.
The Magpies last hosted the Tasman Mako at McLean Park in 2016. Tasman won that encounter 36-29.
Ozich's troops took on Waikato and Counties-Manukau this season. Waikato retained the Ranfurly Shield with their 42-22 win in Hamilton and Counties Manukau recorded a 29-25 win at McLean Park.
New Zealand Rugby's head of participation and development, Steve Lancaster, said the crossover fixtures were an integral part of the Mitre 10 Cup.
"These matches form an essential part of the Mitre 10 Cup format, the ability to have crossover fixtures between Premiership and Championship teams sees the traditional rivalries maintained and those are the sort of matches that make this competition special.
"Year after year we see Championship teams upsetting the Premiership side in these matches, that was no different in the season just been.
Premiership winners Auckland lost only one match in the 2018 competition - at the hands of Championship team Otago, while Waikato's early wins against Premiership teams Wellington and Taranaki got their season on track and led them all the way to the final.
The full Mitre 10 Cup draw is expected to be completed early next year.