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Timaru crowd flock to game

Last updated 05:00 11/04/2011
rugby fans
NATASHA MARTIN
KEEN FANS: Christchurch's Kathleen Giles, 10, left, and Anna Courtney, 15, of Timaru.

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Super rugby returned to Timaru after five years on Saturday night and the South Canterbury crowd came out in force.

About 11,000 squeezed into the Alpine Energy Centre stadium to cheer the Crusaders. And they responded with a decisive display, downing the defending champions Bulls from South Africa 27-0.

Press rugby writer Richard Knowler, who trekked to Twickenham to watch the Crusaders play their last match against the Sharks, believed the atmosphere in Timaru was better, with the ground a sellout compared with the home of England rugby where 35,000 were swallowed in the vast 82,000-seat arena.

The Crusaders, who had not played in Timaru since 2006, are set to return again this season on June 11 when they clash with the Blues.

While there had been some speculation the match might be played in Auckland to boost the Crusaders' coffers, chief executive Hamish Riach has indicated a return to Timaru was most likely.

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- Fairfax Media

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