Highlanders will be back despite smaller crowd

Photos: Dave Loudon Photography

THE Highlanders still plan to bring a Super Rugby fixture to Invercargill next year despite a smaller than hoped turnout at Rugby Park on Friday night.

The Highlanders played a French Barbarians team in Invercargill during the Highlanders’ break from the Super Rugby competition.

The hope was for a crowd of 4000-plus on Friday night, but the official figure was 3660.

“We definitely would have liked more, but with everything on – the All Blacks test, the basketball, Winterfest – [3660] wasn’t too bad,” Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said.

The Highlanders are not playing a Super Rugby competition game in Invercargill this year. Seven of their eight home games have been scheduled for Dunedin and the other game will be played in Suva, Fiji, on Saturday.

The game against the Chiefs will be the first time the Highlanders have taken a fixture to Fiji, but it will be the third Super Rugby game played there.

The Highlanders teamed up with the Fijian government and Fortress Information Systems to ensure the game would be played in Suva.

While the Highlanders were heading to the Pacific Islands this year, Invercargill was very much still on the radar, Clark said.

“Our plan is still to play a Super Rugby fixture in Invercargill next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders will restart the Super Rugby competition with a touch of confidence on the back of the 29-10 win over the French Barbarians in Invercargill last Friday.

With three round-robin games to play, the Highlanders sit fifth in the competition standings, three points ahead of the sixth-placed Chiefs.

The Highlanders leave for Suva today.

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