On Saturday 13thJune at 7.05pm the first professional rugby match since COVID-19 interrupted all sporting competitions will be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. 

Following New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern’s, announcement that the country will move to Level 1 at midnight tonight, Dunedin will host the inaugural match of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa Competition which will also be the first major sporting event to be held in New Zealand that will allow a live audience post mass gathering restrictions being lifted.

Pulse Energy Highlanders CEO, Roger Clark, is delighted that level 1 has arrived in time for crowds to attend their first home game, “no one can ever underestimate the sacrifices New Zealanders have made to allow this special event to take place. In many ways the staging of this game in front of a crowd represents our country’s success in fighting the pandemic, and while we appreciate there is still some work to do, it’s certainly a good time to celebrate what we have achieved so far. Like any significant achievement celebrating with your friends is always better and we expect a lot of people will be very keen to enjoy this special moment together”.

Forsyth Barr Stadium will be the centre of the rugby world on Saturday night and an expected global audience in the millions will tune in to see the return of rugby in front of a live audience. Stadium CEO, Terry Davies, cannot wait for the day to arrive and said preparations are in place to accommodate the return of fans on Saturday night. “We have had many historic and great occasions in our stadium; World Cups, Bledisloe Cups and some hugely successful concerts but this is a unique opportunity for us. To imagine that as we gather on Saturday night, we will be the first in the world to host a rugby crowd is just incredible”.

The advantage of playing in front of a home crowd is not lost on Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger, “to be fair it was always going to be a bit surreal to be playing in empty stadiums so to know we will be back in front of our fans makes an already special occasion more exciting for all of us, I know the players are really looking forward to getting out there and entertaining our community”.

Tickets for the #WorldFirstDunedin event will go on sale from 4.30pm today on the Ticketek website. 


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