Hurricanes’ first home game at Arena
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.