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NZ Super Rugby clubs to play French Barbarians in June

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Rugby fans in Christchurch and Invercargill will get a taste of International rugby with the Crusaders and Highlanders confirmed to face off against a French Barbarians side in June.

While the All Blacks will play three Test matches against France, the French Barbarians will play the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday 15 June, and the Highlanders on Friday 22 June in Invercargill.

In August, Christchurch will also host the All Blacks’ Game of Three Halves with the All Blacks playing Canterbury and Otago as they prepare for the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said the confirmation of these fixtures is great news for rugby fans in the south.

“It is great to add these matches to the June schedule, as we have no doubt that fans will thrive on the opportunity to see their clubs come up against International opposition.

“As we have seen over a number of matches against international sides over the past several years, our clubs are more than capable of footing it against international sides so these fixtures promise to be exciting,” said Cass.

French Barbarians Manager Denis Charvet said: “After hosting New Zealand Maori last November in Bordeaux, the second French National Team is delighted to travel to South Hemisphere and have the opportunity to play against two great teams as Crusaders and Highlanders.

“We love coming to New Zealand and we love the competition of playing against a New Zealand side. We’re very excited to be bringing our Barbarians style of rugby with a lot of young French talents to New Zealand and we know that we are facing formidable opponents in the Crusaders and Highlanders.

“We’re very much looking forward to playing these teams in Christchurch and Invercargill.”

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach said the match would provide local fans with a unique opportunity to see the Crusaders play during the Test window.

“We are thrilled to welcome a French Barbarians side in June. Our Crusaders matches against England in 2014 and the British and Irish Lions in 2017 took place in front of sell out crowds and we are confident fans will once against be treated to a fantastic spectacle, complete with all the excitement and rivalry you’d expect from a match between a New Zealand and a French XV side.”

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said the club is looking forward bringing this match to Invercargill.

“We weren’t initially able to schedule a game for Invercargill this season so from our perspective the opportunity to play the French there is fantastic. I am sure the Southland rugby public will embrace the chance to see international rugby in Invercargill again.”

Canterbury Rugby CEO Nathan Godfrey was acknowledged New Zealand Rugby for bringing the All Blacks to Christchurch for the traditional preparation event the Game of Three Halves on Friday 10 August.

“We are excited to have the return of elite rugby players to Christchurch, to give our passionate rugby fans the chance to see the All Blacks playing live. We’re very grateful to be able to showcase two high profile games in Christchurch against world class opposition,” Godfrey said.

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