IT'S QUITE a coup for the region to get the Hurricanes-Crusaders clash.

It was announced this week that Waverley would be venue for a pre-season game between the current Super Rugby champions Hurricanes and the Chiefs.

The game on February 17 at the Border Rugby Club grounds is billed as a "grassroots game day" and 4500 supporters are expected.

The announcement was a bit of a surprise.


One rugby aficionado from the losing region said it may be the power of Farmlands sponsorship that has secured the game for the southern Taranaki. Previous sponsorship arrangements saw Mangatainoka the centre of the universe for pre-match games such as this.

It's also a good local match-up. While Border play in the Whanganui competition, until quite recently Taranaki was Hurricanes territory until the Chiefs franchise took over.

It's a decent bet that many people in the Taranaki province haven't quite taken to their adopted side with a vengeance and still back the men in yellow.

But whatever team people support it's a welcome addition to the sporting calender and a good way to start the year.

Hopefully, the famous names in both teams will be on the rugby field at some point.

Wanganui Rugby Union chief Bridget Belsham noted it was a golden opportunity for young rugby fans to get to a fixture which had such skilled exponents of the game.

And in a wider sense, rugby supporter or not, these types of special matches bring an element of occasion to an area. It's good for Waverley, Whanganui and rugby in general.