Nelson goes rugby mad in preparation for All Blacks test

Nelson has officially gone rugby mad.

The city is preparing for Saturday's All Blacks test against Argentina and the party has already begun. Central Nelson is out in force and out in black - to celebrate their favourite team.

Young fans know exactly who they're cheering for - and why. "Because they're the winning team," one child told Newshub.

Test match predictions aside local businessman John Hogan says it's huge for the city. "Oh town's alive - it's so amazing to have an event like this in town," he said.

Amazing because it's the first time Nelson has ever hosted an All Blacks test.

More than $1 million was invested in the bid, which the Regional Development Agency says will be worth it.

"We estimate between $9 million and $10 million for direct economic impact, in terms of accommodation and hospitality," said agency CEO Mark Rawson.

Bars and restaurants are gearing up for one of their busiest nights of the year - with more than 21,000 people heading to tomorrow's game.

Around New Zealand and the world - many more will be tuning in to watch the test on TV.

"The exposure is something we just couldn't buy in a region of our size," Mr Rawson said.

Nelson's size is the reason it hasn't hosted such a game before - 15,000 extra seats have been brought in to boost Trafalgar Stadium's capacity.

All Black Dane Coles says it has more of a grassroots feel than bigger cities. "We've had some great support, free coffees and stuff," he said.

That support saw people queuing around the block - just to get a signature from their favourite players.

The success of the region's test debut has organisers thinking about the next event. They say other 'significant sporting codes' are already eyeing Nelson up - as a sports destination.