Morgan Piek – Cape Town is the first port of call for the Wellington, New Zealand based Super Rugby franchise, The Hurricanes. Earlier this week it was announced that Conrad Smith will captain the “Canes” for the 2012 season.
This weekends’ opening round clash at DHL Newlands will be somewhat of a watershed game for the men hailing from the “Land of the Long White Cloud”, as their captain will be heading up the midfield alongside Canes debutant, Tim Bateman, instead of his long-time centre partner Ma’a Nonu.
Ma’a Nonu joined the Auckland Blues in the offseason after months of speculation as to which team he would be joining. Even The Sharks, the Durban based franchise from South Africa was mentioned more than once.
The Canes will be fielding three new signings in the starting line-up this weekend, they are Tim Bateman, Ben May and Tristan Moran. Alongside the three afore mentioned newcomers, a further four more players will most likely make their Super Rugby debuts this weekend. They’ve all been named as bench riders and will most probably get a run. They are Motu Matu’u, TJ Perenara, Brad Shields and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen. These players are actually very lucky to be making their debuts on the ever beautiful Newlands.
After losing stalwarts such as Neemia Tialata, John Schwalger, Ma’a Nonu and Andrew Hore, the Hurricanes have been left with a rather inexperienced team, alas; one should never underestimate any New Zealand side, especially one considered to be inexperienced.
The Canes will be traveling to Johannesburg after their match on Saturday to face the MTN Lions at Coca-Cola Park. On their way home, they will be making a one last stop in Perth, Australia to play the Western Force before their first home game of the season against the Highlanders at the “Cake Tin”; the Wespac Stadium in Wellington.
The Hurricanes team is as follows:
1.Tristan Moran, 2.Dane Coles, 3.Ben May, 4.Jeremy Thrush, 5.Jason Eaton, 6.Faifili Levave, 7.Jack Lam, 8.Victor Vito, 9.Chris Eaton, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Alapati Leiua, 12.Tim Bateman, 13.Conrad Smith (captain), 14.Cory Jane, 15.Andre Taylor.
16.Motu Matu’u, 17.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18.James Broadhurst, 19.Brad Shields, 20.TJ Perenara, 21.Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22.Charlie Ngatai.