As two of the world's top rugby nations prepare for battle in New Plymouth tomorrow, a bunch of middle-aged politicians will go head to head in Hawera.
And the trash talk between the Parliamentary Rugby Team and the South Taranaki Mayoral invitation side has already begun.
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said Ross Dunlop's side didn't stand a chance.
"We've got Tony Marsh, who played for France, Damien O'Connor, and we've got myself - not to be under-rated," he said.
"They say a prophet is not without honour, except in his own town, so the locals might be a little bit surprised at my skill level.
"I expect to make a few devastating runs, some crunching tackles and then I probably won't be needed."
Former All Black player and manager Richie Guy will call the shots as coach.
Mr Dunlop said although he was impressed by the calibre of the opposition, it would be the locals taking all the glory.
He hit back with his own team of ring-ins, including former Taranaki and Hurricanes halfback Brendan Haami, former Taranaki wing Shayne Austin as well as Steve Gray and James Langton.
"We've got a really good team," he said. "I'll be on the field to kick the ball off, then leave it to the experts, I think."
The match, which kicks off at 12.30pm at Hicks Park, will serve as more than just a battle between local and national government, it is also a fundraiser for South Taranaki Victim Support. It will be followed by an auction with all proceeds going to the charity.
The Parliamentary Rugby Team plays about five matches a season, with a charity selected for each game.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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