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PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON

The battle of the bears has taken a distinctly provincial turn after a new display popped up on State Highway 1 near Balclutha over the weekend.

Although the installers of the new hay-bale bear are yet to be identified, their creation gives more than a nod to Southern traditions.

The 5m bear — in partial livery of blue and gold — appears to be preparing to watch the rugby while brandishing an oversize barrel of Speights and flying the Highlanders flag.

A similar baleage bear appeared near Mosgiel last Monday, created by agricultural contractor Tim Brown and family.

Otago Daily Times