Southland country rugby will be showcased at next year’s Southern Field Days rugby match.
Two players from each Rugby Southland premier club team would be selected in the 30-player squad for the Southland Invitation XV.
Players from Wyndham, Edendale, Eastern Northern Barbarians, Midlands, Te Anau, the five Invercargill club teams and Southland Stags would be involved.
Among the contracted Stags were Rory Van Vugt, of the Barbarians, Josh Moorby and Ray Tatafu.
Further Stags would be announced as they were contracted.
The side will play the Fijian club team the Nadroga Stallions. The game replaces the Highlanders vs Crusaders match of the past two events.
Rugby Southland commercial manager Simon Frisby said it allowed the scope of Southland rugby to be on display.
“We really get to showcase local talent at a country event,” Frisby said.
“It’s getting more people involved and casting it wider.”
Stags coach Dale McLeod would be at the helm of the team, and had started getting the training group together.
Rugby Southland marketing manager Jack King said it was an opportunity for club players to be exposed to the next step up.
“It’s a higher level for them to see how they go,” King said.
“The players have been put forward by their clubs and being inclusive is really important.”
The Southland Fijian community were ecstatic to have its flavour of rugby involved in the event.
“It’s a big deal for the Fijian community and they’re really excited about it.”
Field Days head of rugby organiser Simon Vallely looked forward to the country community feel at the match.
“It’s the kids coming out with their mums and dads,” he said.
“It just adds another dimension to the Field Days and we’ve had rugby in the past so it’s cool to do it again.”