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'You almost had to believe it': Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes caught in bizarre Bruno Mars hoax

By Sam Smith

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Three New Zealand Super Rugby franchises were last week caught up in a bizarre hoax featuring global pop star Bruno Mars.

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According to a report from 1 News, the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes all received calls offering the services of the Grammy Award-winning artist in the lead-up to the Super Rugby Aotearoa final.

The three franchises were told Mars, who has sold 150 million records worldwide, was in New Zealand working on his new album and was keen to attend a Super Rugby match.

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Interested in the offer, the Highlanders set out to make plans for Mars to visit, while the Crusaders were offered a meet-and-greet with the players and a surprise half-time show, which involved Kiwi act Drax Project, during last week’s final.

“The plans were to fly Bruno in with a chopper, deliver the match ball and then join Drax Project for a bit of a jam during pre-match or half-time,” Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge told 1 News.

The Christchurch-based franchise put the plan into action, putting extra security on standby to host Mars at Orangetheory Stadium’s executive suite in anticipation of the superstar’s arrival.

However, Warner New Zealand, Mars’ record label, confirmed he wasn’t even in the country, while the woman claiming to act on the singer’s behalf was reportedly unable to be contacted as her phone number was now inactive.

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The Crusaders proceeded to lay a formal complaint with police, but admitted they could see the funny side of being involved in such a strange scam.

“I think it was so fantastic actually to come up with a story so crazy you almost had to believe there was an element of truth to it,” Mansbridge said.

Despite Mars’ no-show at the Super Rugby Aotearoa final, the franchise have secured the services of Belgian drum and bass producer Netsky to perform a pre-match show at their opening Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash against the Brumbies on Saturday.

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