The Gallagher Chiefs return to Hamilton's FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday to face the Crusaders after a successful trip to Dunedin where they defeated the Highlanders. The historic win was the first Sky Super Rugby match to be decided via Golden Point.
On Saturday the Chiefs will celebrate club rugby in Chiefs' country. The matchday will include a curtain raiser between two local premier club teams and a junior rugby march past among the festivities. Last weekend Chiefs players who did not travel to Dunedin were released to play club rugby for their respective clubs.
The curtain raiser on Saturday will be contested between Hamilton Old Boys and Hamilton Marist. The fixture between the Waikato clubs will kick off at 4.25pm with gates opening at 4.15pm. It will be the first time ever that a premier club fixture features as the curtain raiser to a Chiefs match at FMG Stadium Waikato.
Chiefs CEO Michael Collins is looking forward to putting the spotlight on club rugby in the matchday celebrations.
"We're really excited for this curtain raiser between Hamilton Old Boys and Hamilton Marist. We know the clubs will make the most of the rare opportunity to open for a Sky Super Rugby match and look forward to putting the spotlight on club rugby this Saturday.
"We can't wait to also welcome thousands of keen junior rugby players from across Chiefs' Country for their field march in our annual march past thanks to Splice Construction. We know there are bound to be some future Chiefs among the youngsters attending."
Hamilton Old Boys Rugby Club president Rena Schuster is looking forward to the occasion.
"Hamilton Old Boys is very proud to be invited to be a part of this occasion. There is nothing better than a local derby against worthy rivals on a great track like FMG Stadium Waikato. We're all looking forward to setting the scene for a Chiefs win later on."
Hamilton Marist Rugby Club president Kevin Flynn recognises the opportunity the occasion brings.
"Hamilton Marist thank the Chiefs for this initiative and recognise this as a fantastic opportunity for both our clubs. We are all super excited for our players to be able to showcase their skills and talent on a ground as good as FMG Stadium Waikato.
"We also firmly believe the occasion provides great inspiration, not just for the players involved in the game but for our juniors watching from the stands.
"These players are the future of our great game and any motivation we can work on together will help all our clubs ensure longevity and continue to produce the Chiefs of the future. We look forward to celebrating a Chiefs victory against the Crusaders."
The Splice Construction Junior March Past will feature more than 40 clubs from across Chiefs' Country.
There will be junior clubs from all major provinces including Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Thames Valley, Waikato, King Country and Taranaki. The Chiefs have fielded over 2400 registrations from junior club players, coaches and supporters for the march past.
This week Chiefs players will be representing their respective club during their Chiefs training and those who are not picked in the matchday 23 will again be available to play for their respective clubs.
Fixture: Chiefs v Crusaders, Saturday April 17, 7.05pm
• Curtain raiser: Hamilton Old Boys v Hamilton Marist, 4.25pm
• Tickets: here
• Gates open: 4.15pm