Timaruvians make the most of professional rugby game in town video

JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Thousands turned out to watch the Crusaders take on the Highlanders at Alpine Energy Stadium in Thursday afternoon.

Timaru took its chance to hold a match between two Super Rugby teams with both hands.

The Crusaders and Highlanders visited for a mid-season clash and the Timaru rugby community were treated to fine weather and some good rugby, with the only downside being the result, as the Crusaders were humbled 33-12.

It was a fantastic day out as an estimated 4500 people turned up to support the teams.

Pictured from left are rugby fans Kaitlin Morland, Olivia Birch, Millie Hulme (hat) Megan Robertson, Maddy Houston and ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Pictured from left are rugby fans Kaitlin Morland, Olivia Birch, Millie Hulme (hat) Megan Robertson, Maddy Houston and Alana Sewell (back), 11-year-old Liam Geddis with Nana Kerry Connew.

South Canterbury Rugby Football Union chief executive Craig Calder was full of praise for Timaru.

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"The Timaruvians really turned it up and showed their support. They've come along and helped get in behind the event."

Timaru's own Aki Seiuli signs autographs for fans at Alpine Energy Stadium as the Crusaders tackled the Highlanders.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Timaru's own Aki Seiuli signs autographs for fans at Alpine Energy Stadium as the Crusaders tackled the Highlanders.

Calder said the decision to make it a family affair and ban alcohol was the right decision.

"We're really happy with how that went. We wanted it to have a strong family feel to it and it had just that.

"We're stoked with the decision we made on that front."

Crusaders Marty McKenzie tries to tackle Highlanders Thomas Umaga-Jensen in their clash at Alpine Energy Stadium.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Crusaders Marty McKenzie tries to tackle Highlanders Thomas Umaga-Jensen in their clash at Alpine Energy Stadium.

He said the SCRFU easily made back the revenue they spent on bringing the game to Timaru.

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"Thanks to the fine weather we had a very large walk-up crowd. It's certainly allowed us to make more from the game than we originally anticipated."

Calder said it was great seeing so many children with their parents at the event.

Crusaders midfielder Sean Wainui tries to evade Highlanders opposite Rob Thompson.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Crusaders midfielder Sean Wainui tries to evade Highlanders opposite Rob Thompson.

"That's what we wanted, there's a good mix of support for the teams like the 50-50 it is. There were four Crusaders board members here and they're stoked too see how well it's gone."

Children who had tickets to the game were allowed to leave class early, if a note was sent to school with them.

The halftime entertainment saw Pleasant Point, Geraldine, Gleniti and Bluestone play rippa rugby.

Timaruvians at the Crusaders v Highlanders clash in Timaru.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Timaruvians at the Crusaders v Highlanders clash in Timaru.

Fan Brendan Leary, who was with his children supporting the Crusaders, said it was great to see Timaru support the match.

"I thought it was great that they have come to Timaru and given fans down here the chance to view a game of rugby like that, irrespective of the result.

"It was good too see a big crowd and hopefully they'll look at doing it again in the future.

Highlanders fan Hayley Tairua, 8, of Timaru.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Highlanders fan Hayley Tairua, 8, of Timaru.

"We'd love to see them come back and play here every year, because it's two hours to support either team."

Another fan, Ash Pace, was pleased with the spectacle.

"It's awesome seeing the game get such good support from Timaru."

Tobias Overbeeke, 10 of Timaru, shows his support for the Crusaders.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Tobias Overbeeke, 10 of Timaru, shows his support for the Crusaders.

Pace said he'd love to see the players visit more regularly, even if it was only in a coaching capacity.

"I think if we could get them down here a couple of times a season then that'd be great for the province, even if it's only holding coaching clinics."

Nine-year-old Crusaders fan Stella Lang said it was great seeing the team play in Timaru.

"It's awesome, I'm supporting the Crusaders because the number one (Tim Perry) looks after our pet pig."

Felix Hamilton said it was awesome seeing some of his favourite players live.

"This is my first Crusaders game and it was cool. I loved it."

He said the best part about it was the Crusaders scored first.

Ten-year-old Tobias Overbeeke loved the game and hoped the event would be repeated in Timaru.

 - Stuff

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