Rugby: Napier fans given gift of Canes

By Shane Hurndell

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Mike Bishop, left, says the Hurricanes match is part of a commitment to give the region's rugby fans top class rugby. Photo / File
Mike Bishop, left, says the Hurricanes match is part of a commitment to give the region's rugby fans top class rugby. Photo / File

Talk about the perfect Christmas gift for Hawke's Bay rugby fans.

Just weeks after news of an All Blacks test match being confirmed for Napier's McLean Park, a Four Nations match against Argentina on September 6, Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO Mike Bishop confirmed yesterday the Hurricanes will play a Super Rugby match against the Bulls at the same venue on April 5.

"The Hurricanes playing in Napier next year is part of a commitment we have to give the rugby fans in our region a diet of top class rugby to choose from throughout the rugby season," he said.

"It has been a pleasure to work with the Hurricanes in making this fixture happen for 2014. The Napier City Council has once again demonstrated a strong commitment to assisting us with bringing events such as this to McLean Park, and we are grateful for their assistance," Bishop said.

Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni said he was delighted to announce the Napier fixture.

"We're really excited about bringing this match to Napier along with the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union and Napier City Council.

"It will be a great opportunity for our Hawke's Bay fans to see the Hurricanes in their own backyard, and for our team to take the field in one of New Zealand's great rugby provinces."

With three Magpies in the Hurricanes squad, Napier Technical hooker Ash Dixon, MAC's All Black prop Ben Franks and Napier Old Boys Marist lock-loosie Mark Abbott, it will be a surprise if there isn't a crowd of 13,000-plus for the 7.35pm match.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said the Napier City Council had spent close to $14 million on McLean Park in recent years, so it was great to see it being recognised as a premium sporting venue.

"I'm absolutely delighted the Hurricanes are coming to McLean Park.

"The whole of Hawke's Bay will benefit from, and I'm sure support, this match," he said.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union season tickets are available for purchase at the union's McLean Park headquarters.

These guarantee preferential ticket opportunities for the Hurricanes match and All Blacks test.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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