Hur­ri­canes’ first home game at Arena

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY! -

he Hur­ri­canes will play their first home game this sea­son in Palmer­ston North. The Hur­ri­canes start the 2016 com­pe­ti­tion on the road with games against the Brumbies, High­landers and the Blues be­fore trav­el­ling to the Manawatu for their first home game against the Western Force on Fri­day, March 18.

Manawatu Rugby CEO John Knowles an­tic­i­pates a large crowd at the Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena will be fur­ther en­hanced by peo­ple at­tend­ing the NZ Agri In­vest­ment Week, the A&P Show and the Cen­tral Dis­tricts Field Days.

‘‘We’re hop­ing for an en­ter­pris­ing game that will ex­cite the crowd,’’ John says.

He be­lieves the early sea­son match recog­nises the im­por­tance of Manawatu rugby to the Hur­ri­canes. Their squad in­cludes Cal­lum Gib­bons, Nehe Mil­ner-Skud­der, Hei­den Bed­wellCur­tis, Otere Black, Chris Eves and Ngani Laumape who, John pre­dicts, has the abil­ity ‘‘to go all the way.’’

‘‘Ngani was a promis­ing player at Palmer­ston North Boys’ High who played for the War­riors but has now re­turned to rugby and is avail­able both for the Hur­ri­canes and the Tur­bos,’’ John says.

‘‘We’re hop­ing coach Chris Boyd will use all of our lo­cal boys in his squad in the match on March 18.’’

John ac­knowl­edges the close re­la­tion­ship with Manawatu rugby through the in­volve­ment of Hur­ri­canes staff in the youth lev­els.

The Hur­ri­canes had an im­pres­sive sea­son last year un­der their new coach and there’ll be added in­ter­est this sea­son, with a num­ber of new play­ers re­plac­ing some old cam­paign­ers who’ve now re­tired or moved to play over­seas.

The match kicks off at 7.35pm pre­ceded by a cur­tain raiser be­tween Palmer­ston North Boys’ High and Lind­is­farne Col­lege from Hawke’s Bay.

Hur­ri­cane Beau­den Bar­rett leaps over Richard Brown from Western Force in a pre­vi­ous en­counter.

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