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Draw . . . Honours were shared in a 19-19 draw in the first Farmlands Cup match in 2016. Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock (left) and the Highlanders' Shane Christie received the trophy jointly from Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES

by Chris Tobin

The biggest rugby match Temuka has seen in a long time will take place at the Temuka Domain ground next year.

The ground will host a Crusaders-Highlanders preseason match for the Farmlands Cup on a date yet to be decided, pending confirmation of Super Rugby preseason dates.

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said he was looking forward to hosting the Highlanders in Temuka.

“Temuka is a local community we know will have divided loyalties between the Crusaders and Highlanders, so there’ll be plenty of great support for this game, and huge motivation for our side as we look to retain the Farmlands Cup in Crusaders territory.”

Temuka Transport will sponsor the match.

Earlier this year the company, which operates extensively in the franchise areas, struck a sponsorship deal with both franchises.

Temuka Transport general manager Nigel Walsh said giving children an opportunity to meet their heroes was a key reason for supporting the match.

“Being between Canterbury and North Otago means that South Canterbury can miss out on these big events.

“We wanted to promote the game of rugby itself and give local coaches and kids the chance to shake hands with the people they look up to’, Walsh said.

The cup was introduced in 2016 to bring top-class rugby back to grassroots locations. Previous matches have been played in Wanaka, Darfield, Southbridge and Waimumu (twice).

Farmlands chief executive Peter Reidie said the company was also pledging $5000 to a local charity, the Rural Support Trust.

Tickets to the game would be available when a date was confirmed.