Free celebrity rugby game to celebrate sister city anniversary

Wednesday 23 January 2013, 1:20PM

By Invercargill City Council



Calling all Southlandersbring your mates, bring the family to The Great Mayoral Rugby Challenge on Friday, February 15 at Rugby Park.

It’s the great rugby showdown between the Mayor of Invercargill’s Team and the Mayor of Kumagaya’s Team – it’s going to be fun and, even better, it’s free.

Both teams feature well known Southland rugby players and personalities of today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Mayor Tim’s Team is led by Coach, Dave Henderson, Manager, Leicester Rutledge and Captain Jason Rutledge.

Mayor Tomioka’s Team has Coach Simon Culhane, Manager Murray Heath and Captain Dave Hall.

Former All Black Paul Miller is also coming home to take part in the game.

Other players include current and former Stags – including Hale T-Pole, Matt Saunders, Pailate Fili, Dion Bates, Tuki Raimona, Sonny Rangitoheriri and Scott Eade.  Young up and coming players from around Southland will also take to the field – to lend a bit of youthful balance to the game.

Mayor Tim and Mayor Tomioka won’t be pulling on their rugby boots – Mayor Tim says the last time he took part in a celebrity rugby match he lost two teeth – but they will be there cheering their teams on, both keen to be victor.

Gates open at 5.30pm, kick off is at 7pm, after the national anthems are performed by Southland entertainer Cheryl Anderson.

Entertainment starts at 6pm with the live band Lipstick – and will continue during the breaks, with traditional Japanese taiko drums, Jazz Time dancers and a Pipe Band.

Food and beverages are available on-site – but liquor licensing conditions do not permit BYO.

Mayor Tim is encouraging people to come along to the game.

“It is some free entertainment that will be great fun.  We are hoping families will bring the kids along – they can bring a picnic – and because entry is free it should be an affordable night out for all the family.

“Kumagaya people love their rugby just as much as we do – come along dressed in your Stags or Highlanders gear and celebrate with us – it’s going to be a great night,” he said.