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Kerikeri To Host Air New Zealand Cup Match

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Kerikeri To Host Air New Zealand Cup Match

5 June 2009 - Far North rugby fans have had their dreams come true with today's announcement that Kerikeri Domain will be the venue for the first national provincial championship game to be held outside Whangarei since 1976.

In a joint statement today, Northland Rugby Union chairman Andrew Golightly and Far North Mayor Wayne Brown said the New Zealand Rugby Union's decision to hold the Air New Zealand Cup match on the Kerikeri Domain is a fantastic result for rugby and the Far North.

"It creates an opportunity to grow the game by generating interest and making it more accessible to the people of the Far North," Mr Golightly said. "It gives our fans a chance to see the Toll United Northland team play and hopefully provides inspiration for more young people to get into the game with the goal of one day playing for the province."

Mayor Brown said the Domain game would bring big crowds to Kerikeri in August and the challenge now was to prepare for it and make sure the whole district got involved in supporting the event and making it a success.

"We've got the results we wanted and now we'll be looking to Kerikeri to join with the council to support this game wholeheartedly and think about how it can make the most of the golden opportunity this major event presents. This should be the biggest thing to happen in Kerikeri to date."

The match between Northland and Auckland is scheduled for Saturday August 15 at 2.35pm.

Mr Golightly said the NRU was delighted to host the game, following the NZRU's decision to make a one-off exemption to allow the match to be played in Kerikeri.

"This great result has been achieved through real teamwork involving staff at NZRU, Far North District Council, and the Northland Rugby Union and we are grateful for the incredible support of our major sponsors."

Mr Golighty specifically thanked the team from SKY TV. "It was their cooperation, support and professionalism that meant the vision of taking a game outside Whangarei could become a reality," he said.

"We must also acknowledge the support of the Auckland Rugby Union in agreeing to play at Kerikeri and offer special thanks to Wayne Brown for his total support and confidence, and the FNDC staff who pulled out all the stops and worked really hard to get the project up and running."

Mr Golightly said the Northland team would play all of its pre-season games away from Whangarei this season and the Northland Union had asked the NZRU for special dispensation to be able to take one competition fixture to Kerikeri to connect with fans in that part of the province.

Subject to completion of match-set-up requirements and a final inspection in late July, the NZRU has agreed to that request.

NZRU Chief Executive Officer Steve Tew said the NZRU was willing to give consideration to the request given the extraordinary circumstances which exist with Okara Park, along with other venues around New Zealand, being re-developed with Rugby World Cup 2011 in mind. "We recognise that a lot of work has taken place around New Zealand to prepare venues to Air New Zealand Cup standard in recent years, so this decision is not a shift in policy. However, given the situation that Northland has in terms of managing venues and the enthusiasm that exists in Northland and, in particular, in Kerikeri, for this fixture taking place there, we were happy to make this one-off allowance."

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