Great Big Tui Cup up for grabs today …
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Hurricanes vs Crusaders
from Eketahuna ….
The Hurricanes have played a special pre-season fixture in the Wairarapa every year since 2010. This year’s game in Eketahuna will be the sixth consecutive clash over the hill and the fourth with the Great Big Tui Cup (inset, above) on the line.
Of the previous five games, the first four were played at Mangatainoka, on the doorstep of the Tui brewery. Last year the game was shifted to Masterton.
On Saturday the Hurricanes clash with the Crusaders at the Ekethuna Rugby Football Club on Alfredton Road, to mark the club’s 125th year celebrations.
Dennis “Doc” Dougherty, President of the Eketahuna Rugby Club says. “It’s absolutely brilliant, and just incredible for this to be announced during our 125th year…We ain’t going to get any All Blacks games, so this is a good second best…The Christmas trees came down and the Hurricanes flags went up the next day.”
Evidently there has been one All Black from Eketahuna. Forward Billy Watson played three games on the 1893 tour of Australia.
Wellington and Hawke’s Bay first five-eighth Rebecca Mahoney is the club’s recent Black Fern. Mahoney has recently been refereeing women’s rugby matches.
This pre-season game will feature rolling substitutions and several additional breaks in play. Kick-off is at 3.00 pm, with a curtain-raiser between a Tui Brewery XV, featuring former Wellington, Wairarapa-Bush and New Zealand Maori representatives, and a PCG Wrightson Invitational XV.
The Hurricanes squad is:1. Ben Franks; 2. Brayden Mitchell; 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen; 4. Geoff Cridge; 5. Mark Abbott; 6. Brad Shields; 7. Ardie Savea; 8. Blade Thomson; 9. Frae Wilson; 10. James Marshall; 11. Jason Woodward; 12. Rey Lee-Lo; 13. Matt Proctor; 14. Vince Aso; 15. Nehe Milner-Skudder Reserves16. Leni Apisai; 17. Reggie Goodes; 18. Chris Eves; 19. Tolu Fahamokioa; 20. Mike Kainga; 21. Vaea Fifita; 22. Iopu Iopu-Aso; 23. Heiden Bidwell-Curtis; 24. Jamie Booth; 25. Otere Black; 26. Willis Halaholo; 27. Ope Peleseuma
The Crusaders squad is: 1. Joseph Moody; 2. Gedi Robinson; 3. Nepo Laulala; 4. Luke Romano, 5; Dominic Bird; 6. Jordan Taufua; 7. Matt Todd (c); 8. Jimmy Tupou; 9. Billy Guyton; 10. Tom Taylor; 11. Johnny McNicholl; 12. Kieron Fonotia; 13. Robbie Fruean; 14. Nafi Tuitavake; 15. Richie Mo’unga RESERVES 16. Ben Funnell; 17. Codie Taylor; 18. Daniel Lienert-Brown; 19. Blair Prinsep; 20. Luke Whitelock; 21. Jack Stratton; 22. Tom Sanders; 23. Daniel Carter; 24. Jed Brown; 25. Scott Barrett; 26. Alex Hodgman; 27. Nathaniel Apa; 28. David Havilli; 29. Rob Thompson; 30. George Bridge
Summaries below of the previous five pre-season Hurricanes encounters in the Wairarapa.
2010: Hurricanes 17 v Blues 19 at Mangatainoka
A sell-out crowd of 7,000 packed into the makeshift stands to support the game despite driving rain turning the surrounding paddocks into a bog.
On the field the players did their utmost to produce a spectacle in slippery conditions and to their credit produced six tries, three apiece in an evenly matched contest.
Prop Anthony Perenise, halfback Chris Eaton and second five-eighth Charlie Ngatai scored the Hurricanes tries while centre Rene Ranger (2) and halfback Taniela Moa scored the visitor’s tries.
The Hurricanes players and their non-playing All Blacks were mobbed by autograph hunters at full time. They endeared themselves to their fans by staying on to sign autographs in the drizzle for an hour after full time.
Both sides escaped without major injuries. The match made the television network news, but neither side pushed onto the playoffs during the actual season.
2011: Hurricanes 35 v Chiefs 31 at Mangatainoka
The Hurricanes pulled away to win the match in the second half. The Chiefs had led 17-14 at halftime, but in the third quarter the Hurricanes took control to led 28-17 and then added a fifth converted try to seal the deal.
Lock James Broadhurst and Chiefs utility back Tim Nanai-Williams were the standouts, each scoring two tries. There were ten tries scored in the match which was a record until 2014.
2012: Hurricanes 8 v Crusaders 19 at Mangatainoka
The inaugural Great Big Tui Cup was at stake and was taken out by the Crusaders.
The Crusaders outscored the Hurricanes three tries to one in the match that was played over four quarters and with both teams fielding extended squads.
In a tight match, the Crusaders led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, 12-3 at halftime and 19-3 at the end of the third quarter.
Starting Hurricanes first five-eighth Beauden Barrett, who had earlier kicked the game’s first points with a penalty, closed the deficit up by scoring the final try of the afternoon near the end.
The Hurricanes played with much commitment throughout and enjoyed long periods in possession, turning down a number of shots on goal. Patrick Osbourne, Ross Kennedy (a former Hurricane) and Tyler Bleyendaal scored the Crusaders tries.
2013: Hurricanes 21 – Chiefs 25 at Mangatainoka
A free-flowing match saw seven tries scored. The Hurricanes made a poor start conceding the first three tries. The Hurricanes rallied with three tries, one by All Black wing Julian Savea and two from vigorous pick and drives.
Chiefs and Fijian international winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma was the star of the match. He scored two tries and delivered the last pass for the match-winner.
The Chiefs went onto defend their 2012 Super Rugby title. The Hurricanes missed the playoffs again.
2014: Hurricanes 38 v Blues 35 at Masterton
Masterton’s Memorial Park was packed to the rafters as the Hurricanes hosted the Blues in sweltering sun
A try by lock James Broadhurst late in the fourth quarter – that was converted by Super Rugby debutant Marty Banks – sealed the game for the hosts.
After conceding the game’s first three tries, the visiting Blues, featuring rugby league recruit Benji Marshall, had come roaring back into the match to score 35 unanswered points and lead 35-19 before being overtaken late.
Early on, the Hurricanes capitalised on an attacking line that was too lateral and error ridden, they scored three tries and led 19-0.
The Blues struck in the second quarter, scoring three tries and taking a 21-19 lead into halftime.
Wings Tevita Li and Lolagi Visinia as well as bustling centre George Moala who led the assault scored tries for the Blues. All were converted.
The Blues scored their fourth try early in the fourth quarter to replacement Sonetane Takula, and then wing Li ran in for his brace.
The Hurricanes came roaring back in the fourth quarter, with tries being scored by second five-eighth Hadleigh Parkes and flanker Callum Gibbins before Broadhurst’s late winner. at the end.
Twelve tries and 73 points is a record number of points for a fixture that usually entertains.