NZ Rugby World - First XV - - SUPER 8 -

No longer the whip­ping boys of the com­pe­ti­tion, Hast­ings may fancy them­selves as bet­ter than a wild­card. Cer­tainly Jack Wiggins’ side will not be creep­ing up on the Su­per 8. Though fifth in 2014, Hast­ings drew with Hamil­ton and al­most top­pled Palmer­ston.

There are nine back from 2014, start­ing with prop Kianu Kereru-Symes, plus the en­tire back­line, which is al­ways a nice start­ing point for a coach seek­ing con­ti­nu­ity. Step­ping up af­ter rep­re­sent­ing Hur­ri­canes Un­der 16 last sea­son in­clude first-five Lin­coln McC­lutchie, full­back Danny Toala and hooker Ja­cob Dev­ery. Cen­tre Hunter Marsh is back. Though flanker AJ Mua is lost to King’s Col­lege in Auck­land, coach Wiggins is ex­cited about new re­cruit from St John’s Col­lege, prop Gil­bert Ta­hoe, a Hawke’s Bay Un­der 18 rep who will off­set the loss of Ma­son Kean.

“Last sea­son was our best Su­per 8 fin­ish for 10 years. We don’t want to run be­fore we can walk , but we made progress. So the tar­get this year is fin­ish­ing in the top three,” says Wiggins.

ABOVE: blade ru nner Jack­son Fer­ris of Palmer­ston North BHS on the break against Tau­ranga BC.

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