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.