Dunedin based Super Rugby franchise the Highlanders have confirmed their venues for their 2017 Super Rugby Season home games.
The Japanese expansion team, the Sunwolves, will play the Highlanders for the first time ever deep in Highlander country at Rugby Park Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm, Saturday 22nd April).
Invercargill City Council Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, commented, “we are delighted to have the Sunwolves come and play in our city, Invercargill has a strong Japanese connection with the longstanding relationship with sister city Kumagaya (Japan) and we know we will get a fantastic crowd along to both support the Highlanders and welcome the Sunwolves – it’s going to be a great game”.
Highlanders CEO, Roger Clark, added “it is important for us as a club to recognise the great support we get from Southland, especially Invercargill, and with help from the Invercargill City Council, we are able to consistently bring great Super Rugby games to them. We can’t wait to play the Sunwolves at Rugby Park Stadium next year and the early kick-off time should make it easier for those travelling from a little further.”
Invercargill won’t be a new venue for some of the Sunwolves with two members of their management team having grown up in Invercargill; local boys Simon Jones, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach (previously worked with the Stags and Southern Steel) and Ben Herring, a member of the Sunwolves coaching team (played for both the Southland Stags and Highlanders during his rugby career), will be looking forward to visiting New Zealand with the Sunwolves. Highlanders ex-Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, is also expected to travel with the team when they return to New Zealand in 2017.
The remaining six home games against the Chiefs, Crusaders, Rebels, Blues, Stormers, Waratahs and Reds will be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium kicking off at 7.35pm.