Cantabrians take up free rugby offer

8:04 pm on 25 September 2010

Three weeks after the Canterbury earthquake rugby authorities there opened the gates of the region's main rugby stadium to locals, providing free tickets to the Canterbury versus Wellington ITM cup match.

The locals were rewarded with a 37-30 victory to Canterbury, with Wellington leading 20-13 at half-time.

Canterbury moves up to second place on the table behind Southland. Wellington are fifth.

Radio New Zealand's reporter at the game said the crowd of almost 34,000 people was upbeat with many saying the game provided a welcome distraction from the quake related damage and the constant aftershocks.

The Canterbury Rugby Football Union's chief executive Hamish Riach said they offered the free admission to help take people's minds off their troubles and lift their spirits.

He said it was also a way to give back to the all Cantabrians working to help the community.

The Canterbury rugby players' jerseys are being auctioned off with all proceeds going to the quake fund.

Meanwhile, Hawke's Bay beat Taranaki 32-24 in their national provincial rugby match on Saturday.