Two All Black Highlanders will be sharing their skills with the Arrowtown Rugby Club on Saturday.
Adam Thomson and Ben Smith will take a session for junior club players, ref them in rippa and tackle games, then watch the Arrowtown Premiers play Cromwell in their opening competition game of the season.
The junior and senior sections of the club bid for Thomson’s and Smith’s services at a fundraising auction in Queenstown last September for the new Southern Lakes rugby scholarship.
Thomson and Smith will travel up from Invercargill on Saturday morning after playing the Brumbies Super 15 game the previous night.
An outside back, Smith made the All Blacks squad for their end-of-year tour to Japan and Europe in 2009, playing his solitary Test against Italy.
Loose forward Thomson has played 17 Tests for the ABs and has been one of the stars of Super 15 this season, attracting favourable mention from All Blacks’ coach Graham Henry.
Thomson’s also watched the Arrowtown Premiers in action several times, including July last year.
“He’s always been quite supportive of our club,” rugby club president Simon Spark says.
Spark’s looking forward to the pair’s visit this Saturday: “The Highlanders have created a bit of interest this year.
“It’s a real buzz for our junior players.
“It’s also a good opportunity for the Highlanders to get out in the community.”
Smith and Thomson will arrive at Jack Reid Park at noon, take a skills session at 12.30 and referee friendly games from 1.30pm till the Premiers’ game starts at 2.45pm.