The Highlanders are coming back to Alexandra, but it will be a different side to the one which came at the start of last year.
The franchise confirmed late last week it would hold a pre-season match against the Hurricanes at Molyneux Park on February 19.
The Highlanders played a pre-season game in the town at the start of last year, enjoying a 58-27 win over the Waratahs.
A crowd of 6000 attended the game against the Waratahs, and hopes are high a similar sized one will attend early next year.
Alexandra businesses have got behind the event, and Alexandra businessman Lindsay Breen said the community was delighted to secure the return of the Highlanders to the town.
The game, to be played on a Friday, will kick off at 6pm.
The Highlanders’ big win in 2019 was led by winger Tevita Nabura, who scored a hat trick of tries in the victory.
He is just one of many players who appeared that day who are no longer with the franchise.
Nabura had an injury-prone three years with the side and was not re-signed for next year.
Other try-scorers for the Highlanders that day who are no longer with the franchise are: flanker Dillon Hunt, No 8 Luke Whitelock, outside back Josh McKay and outside back Matt Faddes.
The Highlanders will be under new head coach Tony Brown next year, and he is sure to want to make a statement in the pre-season.
Though the All Blacks are available for the first game of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, it is unclear whether any All Blacks will play for either Super Rugby team in Alexandra.
The Highlanders will play the Crusaders in Temuka the week before, on February 12, two weeks before the two teams meet in the opening round of Super Rugby Aotearoa at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Tickets for the game in Alexandra will go on sale in February.