Super returns: Former Highlander Josh McKay celebrates with teammate Aaron Smith in Dunedin in 2019. The franchise has confirmed it'll play a pre-season game in Queenstown in February


After a scheduled Highlanders Super Rugby game in Queenstown couldn’t proceed this year, the team’s committed to a pre-season game this summer.

The Dunedin-based franchise — whose May 30 game against the Rebels had to be transferred to Sydney at the eleventh hour, due to Covid travel restrictions — will play the
new Moana Pasifika side at the Queenstown Rec Ground on February 11.

It’s the first time the Highlanders have played in the resort since a pre-season game in 2018.

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark says they’d have again scheduled a full game here next year but wanted to play before the end of April and couldn’t find a date — ‘‘the Events Centre was getting squeezed’’.

‘‘Obviously we thank all of the people who were going to support us this year, and we’ll bring one up there again, a full game, at some stage.

‘‘I think the good thing about this year was we all proved we could put something together that would work for everybody.

‘‘We were just unlucky Covid got in the way.’’

As in 2018, February’s game’s being underwritten by real estate firm Bayleys’ Queenstown office, which is also giving away 500 free tickets for kids to attend.