January 23 - 2010 Mangaitanoka host rugby in a paddock
The Hurricanes are to play the Blues at Mangatainoka on January 23.
They are; it is fair dinkum and the Tui Brewery, of course, is behind it.
A Super 14 pre-season match is being organised for Pahiatua's tiddler satellite town. Mangatainoka has a pub, a brewery, a few houses, the Pahiatua Golf Club and not much else.
The Mangatainoka Rugby Club was formed in 1886 and has been in recess since 1986, but does have a ground on which livestock graze.
So when word came through of the proposed match, it was greeted with the same response as when reading the famous Tui billboards.
Manawatu Rugby Union chairman Tony Murphy knew nothing about it, even though Mangatainoka falls within Manawatu's sphere of influence. The Bush Rugby Club operates a few kilometres south in Pahiatua.
So a call was made yesterday to Hurricanes spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead who confirmed it was more than a send-up.
"It's for real," he said. "Tui are one of our big sponsors and we are playing the Blues there.
"They are talking about thousands of tickets and bringing in stands, temporary seating. It should be a good game."
The Hurricanes are also likely to get involved in the community around the game, being held on Wellington Anniversary weekend. Tui helped raise $60,000 last year to restore the quaint grandstand which was built in 1907, holds about 122 people and has featured in many New Zealand pictorial books.
The property is owned by the Mangatainoka Domain Board and a rugby club reunion was held there in 2005.
Tui plans to sell 6500 seats for the grassroots rugby-style occasion.
Farmers and earthmovers are to level the field, which has good natural drainage, and will build temporary grandstands.
Such pre-season matches are usually held in small provincial venues like Gisborne, Levin and Wanganui.
This is the brainchild of Tui's comm"We have a fantastic relationship with the Hurricanes, both as a sponsor and partner, and they always want to get involved in the wider franchise community," he said.
"So we thought, why not do something a little different this year.
"Tui is bringing the big show to the small town," Rogers states.
"The ground is currently but a paddock next to a brewery but there is some serious work to be done.
"It's literally grassroots rugby. We're taking it right back to basics.
"Why are we doing this? I ask myself the same question every day but I know it will be rewarding."
He compared it with the population of Auckland going from 1 million people to 65 million for six hours.
Tui has teamed up with local businesses to get the event off the ground.
The match is expected to draw Hurricanes fans from Wairarapa-Bush, Manawatu and Hawke's Bay.
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, November 11 from Tui Brewery or the Tui website (www.tui.co.nz) and PGG Wrightson stores in Hurricanes territory.ercial manager and Wairarapa resident, Nick Rogers.
Poor weather and the boot of Daniel Kirkpatrick dampened the occasion for Hurricanes fans in Mangatainoka today as the Blues won a pre-season Super 14 rugby match 19-17.
Both sides scored three tries in a spectacle marred by rain and cold conditions but two conversions to former Wellington first five-eighth Kirkpatrick proved the difference after the score was locked 5-5 at halftime.
The match was an 8000-seat sellout on a farm in the small Wairarapa community which is made famous by the presence of popular beer brewery.
The players struggled to respond in kind because of the conditions although the game opened up in the dying stages when the sun poked through.
Blues winger Rene Ranger was a standout performer, always looking threatening and crossing for two tries. Their other try went to halfback Taniela Moa.
The Hurricanes scored through prop Anthony Perenise, halfback Chris Eaton and centre Charlie Ngatai while first five-eighth Willie Ripia landed one conversion.
There were no apparent major injuries in a game in which players came and went off the reserve bench.
In Mangatainoka: Blues 19 (Rene Ranger 2, Taniela Moa tries; Daniel Kirkpatrick 2 con) Hurricanes 17 (Anthony Perenise, Chris Eaton, Charlie Ngatai tries; Willie Ripia con). Halftime 5-5.