The anticipation for the coming rugby season is growing by the day.
The summer of rugby ramps up in the lower North Island over the next several weeks, including several sevens tournaments, pre-season club rugby and the opening salvos of the Super Rugby season for the elite players.
The Hurricanes region’s club competitions stoke up over the back half of March. The Wellington Swindale Shield competition kicks off on Saturday 23 March.
Saturday 2 February promises to be a bumper day on the rugby fields just north of Wellington. The Northern United RFC is holding an invitational 7s tournament at Jerry Collins Stadium. The tournament features men’s, women’s and tight five divisions. For more information visit HERE
All roads then head to Levin for the Hurricanes’ first outing of the year, against the Crusaders. The pre-season match at the Levin Domain will be the first Hurricanes fixture at the Horowhenua-Kapiti Rugby Football Union has hosted since 2014 so the local townsfolk will be buzzing.
The following weekend the Hurricanes play the Blues in Mangatainoka in the Wairarapa, ahead of their Super Rugby season opener against the Waratahs in Sydney on 16 February. They play their first home game on Friday 1 March in Palmerston North against the Brumbies and their first home match in Wellington on Friday 8 March against the Highlanders.
The Brisbane 10s pre-season tournament has been quietly dropped this year, owing to the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.
The Hurricanes U20s are in action the previous day against the Blues U20s at the Sport & Rugby Institute in Palmerston North, the first of several home and a way fixtures for the Hurricanes U20S and Development teams that culminates in a trip to Tokyo in April to play Japan A.
Northern United head to Auckland that same weekend for the National Club Sevens, which is hosted by two-time defending champions Eden RFC.
The following weekend, the Central Rugby & Sports Club host the annual Hawke’s Bay Sevens tournament, involving club and school teams from Hawke’s Bay and throughout the Hurricanes region.
Moving into March, the Super Rugby competition comes to Palmerston North and Wellington in successive weekends (stated above), while the annual Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s secondary school tournament is being played over two days in Palmerston North in the first weekend of the autumnal season.
The annual New Zealand Marist Federation Spillane tournament being hosted by the Tukapa club in New Plymouth this year features many of the country’s leasing Marist clubs including Wellington clubs Hutt Old Boys Marist and Marist St Pat’s.
The annual Central North Island Maori Te Tini O Maui tournament has been moved this year from the start of the season to early October.
Wellington’s 14 Premier clubs will be focused on preparations for the club season on Saturdays 2, 9 and 16 March.
All Wellington’s 14 Premier clubs will be focused on preparations for the club season on Saturdays 2, 9 and 16 March.
Details of all pre-season fixtures are yet to be confirmed, but this will include matches against each other, against clubs in different provinces and internal camps. Touring Argentinian club teams have also provided tough early season opposition in recent seasons.
2019 summer of rugby (Wellington/Hurricanes region):
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- 2 February – Hurricanes v Crusaders pre-season, Levin
- 2 February – Northern United Invitational 7s tournament, Jerry Collins Stadium, Porirua
- 8 February – Hurricanes U20s v Blues U20s, S & R Institute, Palmerston North
- 9 February – Hurricanes v Blues pre-season, Mangatainoka
- 9 & 10 February – National Club 7s, Eden RFC, Auckland
- 16 February – Hawke’s Bay Sevens, Central Rugby & Sports Club, Waipukurau
- 1 March – Hurricanes v Brumbies, Palmerston North
- 2 & 3 March Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s, Palmerston North
- 8 March – Hurricanes v Highlanders, Wellington
- 8 & 9 March – NZ Marist Spillane Tournament, New Plymouth
- 16 March – Hurricanes U20s/Development v NZ U20s trialists, S & R Institute Palmerston North
- 16 March – Club rugby warm-up games (final pre-season weekend) TBC
- 23 March – Wellington club rugby Swindale Shield Round 1
- 23 March – Hurricanes v Stormers, Wellington
- 29 March – Hurricanes Development v Japan A, Jerry Collins Stadium, Porirua
- 29 March – Hurricanes v Crusaders, Wellington
- 30 March – Wellington club rugby Swindale Shield Round 2