"The anticipation is huge" as fans attend first live rugby match in New Zealand

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: SOUNDBITES FROM RUGBY FANS, VARIOUS OF FANS DRINKING AND DINING AHEAD OF MATCH

SHOWS: DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND (JUNE 13, 2020) (TVNZ - Broadcasters: NO USE NEW ZEALAND Digital: NO USE NEW ZEALAND INTERNET SITES / ANY INTERNET SITE OF ANY NEW ZEALAND OR AUSTRALIA BASED MEDIA ORGANISATIONS OR MOBILE PLATFORMS)

1. VARIOUS OF RUGBY FANS DRESSED IN CLUB JERSEYS DRINKING AND DINING AHEAD OF MATCH

2. LOGO ON JERSEY READING (English): "HIGHLANDERS"

3. VARIOUS OF RUGBY FANS DRESSED IN CLUB JERSEYS DRINKING AND DINING

4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED RUGBY FAN, SAYING:

"That's what actually got me to it because it going to be the first live professional game in the world, where there's a live crowd. And I thought I've got to be part of that."

5. CHILDREN SEATED WEARING JERSEYS

6. JERSEY, READING (English): "SUPER RUGBY"

7. FAMILY SEATED AND DINING AHEAD OF MATCH

8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED RUGBY FAN, SAYING:

"Yeah, it keeps on growing I think we might be pretty choca tonight which is pretty special and just shows that people are keen to support, you know, local environment and local economy which is cool."

9. VARIOUS OF RUGBY FANS DRINKING AHEAD OF MATCH

10. BEANIE, READING (English): "HIGHLANDERS"

11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED RUGBY FAN, SAYING:

"I'm so super excited. I'm really glad to be part of like the first crew that are going to go watch a live rugby game in the world, I think it's, the anticipation is huge and just actually getting to watch your own boys play as well, it's massive.

12. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED RUGBY FAN, SAYING:

"Absolutely mate, I'm super excited. To be honest with you I've had enough of watching the reruns on the Sky Sports, so I'm ready to crank into it."

13. VARIOUS OF FANS SEATED, DRINKING AND DINING AHEAD OF MATCH

STORY: New Zealand fans starved of live sports welcomed the return of rugby union on Saturday (June 13) following the coronavirus shutdown, as the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition kicked off.

Fans said they were excited to be part of one of the first live rugby crowds in the world, "the anticipation is huge" said one fan.

All eyes will therefore turn to Dunedin on Saturday when the Otago Highlanders host the Waikato Chiefs in the opening match at 7:05 p.m. local time, especially given how physical New Zealand's Super Rugby derbies have been in the past.

Super Rugby's return in New Zealand was aided by the country's success in containing COVID-19, with the government lifting virtually all restrictions this week.

That means it will be the first professional sports league to allow crowds to attend and fans have obliged with both Otago Regional Stadium and Auckland's Eden Park, where the Blues face the Wellington Hurricanes on Sunday (June 14), predicting near sell-outs.

(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes)