Marshall vs Gregan on the field

Former All Black Justin Marshall.
Former All Black Justin Marshall.

A momentous on-field rivalry between two of rugby's greats is set to replay itself on Sir Michael Hill's plush Arrowtown golf course, when George Gregan and Justin Marshall face off in next year's NZ PGA Pro-Am.

Gregan who played half-back for the Wallabies from 1994 to 2007, captaining from 2001 and earning the most caps in international rugby. Marshall, who now lives in Queenstown wore the All Blacks number 9 jersey from 1995 to 2005.

Although they were fierce rivals on the rugby field, the two are now great mates, who catch up for regular golf games.

Australian player George Gregan.
Australian player George Gregan.

The two even managed to catch up for a round of golf at Queenstown's Jacks point course during last year's Rugby World Cup.

After playing in the inaugural PGA Pro-Am in March, Marshall called his old buddy with an invitation to play in next year's event.

Gregan finished on top that day and is looking forward to a repeat performance at the Hills so Marshall can shout the drinks.

''It's just a lot of fun but bragging rights will come down to who has to get the first beer on the 19th hole,'' Gregan said.

Australian half-back of an earlier era, Nick Farr-Jones will also play in the tournament, repeating his appearance in this year's Pro Am.

The battle of the half-backs on the green, is the brainchild of another former half-back, tournament organising committee chairman John Hart.

Hart, who was an Auckland half-back but is perhaps better known for his All Blacks coaching role, said it would be great to have three of international rugby's key play-makers on the green at the same time.

Lydia Ko will be joining the half-backs alongside cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham in the event's amateur field.

The four-day tournament kicks off at The Hills from February 28, overlapping with a four-day warmup cricket test match in which an invitational team will play England in Queenstown from Wednesday, February 27.

The Southland Times